Manon Steffan Ros wins the Cardiff National Eisteddfod Prose Medal in a competition which attracted fourteen competitors.
This year’s title was ‘Ynni’ (Energy) and the task was to compose a volume of creative prose of no more than 40,000 words. The adjudicators were Sonia Edwards, Menna Baines and Manon Rhys. The Medal and the financial prize of £750 were presented by Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr, Cardiff.
Delivering the adjudication from the stage, last year’s Prose Medal winner, Sonia Edwards, said, “I’d like to thank the writers for entrusting their work to us. In Manon’s words, ‘Achieving a task like this calls for commitment, stamina and perseverance.’ And I have to agree with Menna that the ‘Energy’ theme does not lend itself well to creativity.
Discussing the winning work, ‘Llyfr Glas Nebo’ by Aleloia, she sayd, “Sometimes, in a large impressive race, a horse appears from nowhere and overtakes everyone and everything. It sets itself apart from the others and stays there until the very end. This creates excitement and sends shivers down the spine.
“Aleloia’s work came from the middle of the large pile of paper and set itself apart from the others. It was impossible to put down and I read it in one sitting. And I did not want it to end. Having said that, the writing stayed with me for a very long time. This is the effect this work had on my fellow adjudicators as well.
“We were caught in Aleloia’s transparent and fragile web from beginning to end. And this is the work of a real writer. The picture painted of a part of north Wales through the eyes of a young boy and his mother following a nuclear explosion is spectacular. Not because of the scientific information. Not because of the language. But rather because of the tenderness and naked reality and loss and suffering, written in a language which belongs to us all. And because this person is a natural writer.
“Aleloia is a ‘natural and confident writer’ according to Menna Baines, whilst Manon Rhys states that ‘this novel grasped me from the very first sentence.’ And I agree. This is a pearl of a book, and deserves to receive every honour and praise the Cardiff Eisteddfod Prose Medal will bring.”
Manon Steffan Ros was born in Rhiwlas in the Ogwen Valley, and was educated at Ysgol Rhiwlas and Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen. After leaving school, she worked as an actress with Y Frân Wen and Bara Caws for a few years.
She won the Drama Medal in the 2005 and 2006 National Eisteddfod, and this inspired her to start writing in earnest.
Manon has written a number of novels and won the Tir Na n-Og Prize for children’s literature three times. She is also a playwright, scriptwriter and a creative writing tutor.
She writes a weekly micro-literature column in Golwg, and this year worked as a resident writer in Penrhyn Castle.
Manon lives in Tywyn with her sons, Efan and Ger.
The Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau includes the full adjudication for this competition and the winners of all the other composition winners at this year’s Eisteddfod. The volume is published at the end of the Chairing Ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The Cardiff National Eisteddfod runs until 11 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.