At the call of the herald trumpets in 1999, Sonia Edwards rose to receive the Anglesey National Eisteddfod Prose Medal.
Eighteen years later, with the Eisteddfod back on the island, Sonia once again stood to be honoured with the Medal for her latest literary work.
This year’s task was to compose a volume of creative prose of no more than 40,000 words on the theme Cysgodion (Shadows), and the adjudicators were Francesca Rhydderch, Lleucu Roberts and Gerwyn Wiliams. The Medal and the financial prize were donated by the 1957 Anglesey National Eisteddfod Fund Committee.
Twenty volumes were received this year, and Gerwyn Wiliams, speaking from the Pavilion stage on behalf of his fellow adjudicators, said, “From the 20 volumes we received, the three of us agreed that almost half deserve to be published. Their standard varies, with some which would benefit from substantial editorial guidance, both creatively and plot wise. But, in the sense that there are plenty of volumes to keep our publishing houses busy and respond to the call for modern Welsh fiction, then this was a successful competition.”
With the adjudicators agreeing that a total of 9 volumes – almost half the entries appealed enough to at least one of the adjudicators to be considered for the prize, Gerwyn Wiliams said, “The writers responded to the theme in a variety of ways, with fantasy novels, historical novels, social chronicles, short stories, facebook-inspired micro literature and so on. And with such variety, there was bound to be differing opinions among the adjudicators, which is always healthy.”
But even with differing opinions and taste, one entry appealed to all three judges, and this was Daiwa SR3, a collection of six short stories, studying aspects of belonging. According to the adjudicators, “These are mature and empathetic stories, created by a talented writer, who is, a master of the short story genre.
“This year’s competition bodes well for the future of Welsh modern creative fiction, and we also have a very worthy winner here this afternoon, and the three of us unanimously agree that the nom de plume of this year’s winner is Daiwa SR3.”
Originally from Cemaes, Anglesey, Sonia Edwards was educated in Amlwch and at Bangor University. Prior to taking early retirement to concentrate on writing, she was a Welsh teacher. She has a son, Rhys, a teacher and singer with band Fleur de Lys, and she lives in Llangefni.
She has published 27 novels and collections of short stories for children, young people and adults, and she has two new novels in the pipeline. Her next novel, Glaw Trana, is the sequel to Mynd Draw’n Droednoeth, published in 2014, which she adapted for radio. As well as winning the Literary Medal at Anglesey in 1999, she also won the Welsh Book of the Year prize in 1996 for her novel, Gloynnod.
The Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau, which included the full adjudication for this competition and details of all composition winners at this year’s festival, is published at the end of the Chairing Ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The National Eisteddfod at Bodedern continues until Saturday 12 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.