Debut Author's Short Stories Win Wales Book of 2009; Deborah Kay Davies Proves to Be 'An Absolute Champion'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Debut Author's Short Stories Win Wales Book of 2009; Deborah Kay Davies Proves to Be 'An Absolute Champion'


Byline: Tim Lewis

A COLLECTION of short stories set in South Wales from the 1970s onwards has won the Wales Book of the Year 2009.

Written by debut author Deborah Kay Davies, Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful took the award at a ceremony at the St David's Hotel and Spa in Cardiff Bay last night.

BBC Wales political editor Betsan Powys and poet Linton Kwesi Johnson presented Davies with the winner's cheque for pounds 10,000.

Davies of Pontypool had previously won the Rhys Davies short story competition three times and had her collection of poetry, Things You Think I Don't Know, published by Parthian in 2006.

Her winning book Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful tells the story of two sisters, Grace and Tamar, their volatile childhood, disruptive coming of age and dubious maturity.

Each story is complete in its own right, but also forms part of a continuous and powerful sequence.

The judges for the 2009 English-language award were poet, critic and lecturer at the University of Wales, Tiffany Atkinson, poet, essayist and former editor of Planet, John Barnie and broadcaster and travel writer Mike Parker, who chaired the panel.

William Owen Roberts took the Welsh-language award and also received a pounds 10,000 prize for his book Petrograd, judged by Luned Emyr, Derec Llwyd Morgan and Gwyn Thomas.

Chairman Mike Parker said: "All three shortlisted writers were outstanding contenders for this award. The judges felt that they all deserve to be much more widely read, both in Wales and beyond.

"Deborah Kay Davies' collection of stories is an amazing piece of work, a timeless and universal reflection of the ever-perplexing world of human relationships." Peter Finch, chief executive of Academi, said: "Deciding between poetry and prose is the most difficult of tasks, compounded in the case of Book of the Year by the quality of the offering. This year's judges have inevitably made their choice with difficulty. The overall winner, however, is an absolute champion. …

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