Eurig Salisbury wins the Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod Prose Medal in a competition which attracted fourteen competitors.
This year’s title was ‘Galw’ (Call / Calling) and the task was to compose a volume of creative prose of no more than 40,000 words. The adjudicators were Angharad Dafis, Jane Aaron and Dafydd Morgan Lewis. The Medal and the financial prize of £750 were presented by Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw.
Delivering the adjudication from the Pavilion stage, and discussing ‘Cai’ by Siencin, Angharad Dafis said, “This is a deftly written novel which opens with a series of images of Aberystwyth, drawing the reader’s attention immediately. This is an exciting and well-written story about the desire of a Welsh artist to discover the truth about the disappearance of her niece.
"Maybe some elements are too obvious at times, but the structure is beautifully crafted. As Jane Aaron said, 'Bringing the darkness .. to daylight; that is the 'call' that stimulates Cai and Ffion as they fumble in the National Library archives'.
“This is not a bare story with no context: Dafydd Morgan Lewis saw a political allegory here 'We sense that something is churning in the nation's subconscious' he says,' some discomfort and great disquiet. Other issues such as the role of women in the art world (and society) ... rising to the surface as well.'
“We go into the student world and see the difficulties of living in Wales today. There is satire and a timely criticism of the Englishness and sincerity of the art world and the University, although the overuse of English weakens the shot.
“The fragile state of the economy of west Wales is depicted, with the capital city sucking young people into its depths. Immigrants and old people remain in Pen-llwch near Brithdir today, a place ‘dying on its feet’ in Ffion’s words. Behold Wales where time, progress and political visions are forgotten.
“Can it be a mystery or detective novel, even if the mystery is not always hidden? 'Cai' will have a broad appeal, and it is Siencin’s feat is that he has managed to use the framework of a popular novel to say things that desperately need to be told about Wales and the Welsh language. We as the three judges are unanimous – in a competition that the beloved John Rowlands would have been proud of – that Siencin fully deserves the Prose Medal. "
Eurig Salisbury was born in Cardiff in 1983 and was brought up in Carmarthenshire where he was educated. He graduated in Welsh and Film and Television Studies from Aberystwyth University, before receiving an MPhil on the early works of Guto’r Glyn.
After a period working as a translator for the Welsh Government, and working at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth, where he contributed to three innovative projects on medieval Welsh poetry, before his appointment in 2015 as a lecturer on Creative Writing at the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth.
Eurig won the Chair at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbighshire in 2006. He published his first volume of poetry, Llyfr Glas Eurig (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas), in 2008, and a volume of poetry for children, Sgrwtsh! (Gomer), in 2011. He is a member of the successful ‘Y Glêr’ team on Radio Cymru’s Talwrn y Beirdd. Eurig was the Children’s Laureate from 2011-13. He is the Welsh Editor of Poetry Wales.
He lives in Aberystwyth with his wife, Rhiannon, and their son, Llew. He is the brother of Leila and Garmon, and the son of Eurwen and Vaughan. He has family links with the Ceiriog Valley on his mother’s side and Prestatyn on his father’s side, two places which remain close to his heart.
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.