Fflur collects £5,000 prize for her novel set
in National Library
- Aug 5 2009 by Steve Dube, Western Mail
NOVELIST, rock singer, college lecturer and Western
Mail columnist Fflur Dafydd yesterday picked up a £5,000
prize and another top award to add to her growing list
days after getting married, the Carmarthen-based writer
was feted on the Eisteddfod stage as winner of the Daniel
Owen Memorial Prize.
“I’ll probably spend it on our honeymoon
in Italy,” said the 31-year-old, who married Iwan
Llangain, the keyboard player in her backing band Y
Barf on the first day of the Eisteddfod.
been a big year for Dafydd. In May she was named the
Oxfam Emerging Writer of the Year at the Hay Festival
for her acclaimed English-language novel Twenty Thousand
Saints, set on Bardsey Island, which festival organiser
Peter Florence described as the best he had read for
chose another iconic Welsh setting for her latest novel,
a controversial story set in the National Library of
Wales in the year 2020.
adjudicators said the novel Y Llyfrgell (The Library)
was a challenging piece of work that would upset many
readers and would stimulate debate.
it, she portrays a world where women are in government,
politicians have an undue influence on the arts and
new technology overshadows the book – and the
author. Dafydd said she was inspired to write her novel
while visiting the National Library at Aberystwyth every
day for three months as she completed her doctorate
on RS Thomas in 2004.
found myself imagining all sorts of different scenarios
that could happen in the library rather than concentrating
on my work,” she said.
I didn’t have time to write it until last year
and it took me about six months.
is something thrilling about the grandeur of the buildings,
the red carpet, the white pillars and the concept of
all the secrets and history of the nation being collected
in one place.”
prize’s adjudicators said they enjoyed the book’s
satire and black humour and the way it lampoons academics,
civil servants, politicians and janitors and throws
them remorselessly into a sinister and bizarre crisis.
who was brought up near Llandysul, first emerged as
a talented writer when she won the Prose Medal at the
Urdd National Eisteddfod in 1999 while still a student
of English at Aberystwyth. Three years ago she won the
Prose Medal at the Swansea National Eisteddfod.
first collection of short stories was published when
she was 20 and her first novel Lliwiau Liw Nos (Colours
by Night) was published in 2005.
second, Atyniad (Attraction) won the National Eisteddfod
Prose Medal in 2006. Her first English-language novel,
Twenty Thousand Saints, was published last autumn.
has been a writer-in-residence on Bardsey Island (in
2002) and in Helsinki (in 2006) and travels regularly
to literary festivals across the world. She has held
readings in Croatia, Italy, Germany, Norway the United
States and the Netherlands.
also regularly publishes academic articles on RS Thomas
and lectures at the University of Wales, Swansea.