Guto Dafydd, winner of the Eisteddfod Crown two years ago, is the winner of this year’s Daniel Owen Memorial Medal, presented at a special ceremony on the Pavilion stage today.
The task of the nine who entered was to create a novel with a strong storyline of no less than 50,000 words. The prize is the Daniel Owen Memorial Medal and £5,000 donated by the Llanover Community.
The adjudicators were Jon Gower, Fflur Dafydd and Gareth F Williams, and delivering the adjudication from the stage, Jon Gower said, “Ymbelydredd (Radiation) by ‘246093740’ is a novel about what happens to a young man from Gwynedd while he receives radiotherapy treatment in Manchester.
“This is an excellent novel, and the author must be praised, not least because he managed to avoid any sentimentality, which could have stumbled many less talented writers.
“The fact that the novel was located in Manchester, and for this urban, unfamiliar world is portrayed through the eyes of a Welshman is a breath of fresh air, and the style manages to be subtle, yet sensuous, analytical yet philosophical. Although the author made every effort to strengthen the narrative by weaving a terrorism sub-plot into the story, this was too much at times.
“Having said that, creating a novel which feels current and European whilst remaining totally Welsh, is no mean feat – and it includes dark humour at times which makes us consider our culture and heritage anew.
“This is the author with the strongest and most entertaining vision, and s/he deserves the prize this year, for a strong novel which will enrich the lives of all readers who come across it.”
Originally from Trefor, Guto Dafydd was educated locally before graduating in Welsh at Bangor University. Having competed in local eisteddfodau, he won the Crown at the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2013 and then at the National Eisteddfod in Carmarthenshire in 2014.
He has published a volume of poetry, Ni Bia’r Awyr (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas), a detective novel for young people, Jac (Y Lolfa), and a novel for adults, Stad (Y Lolfa). He is a regular at literary events, and enjoys taking part in poetry competitions. He is part of the creative team working on the opening concert for the Anglesey National Eisteddfod next year, based on the First World War.
Guto lives in Pwllheli with his wife Lisa and children, Casi Mallt and Nedw Lludd. He works for the Welsh Language Commissioner as a Compliance Officer. He is the treasurer of Y Ffôr Eisteddfod and a member of the Barddas executive committee.
During autumn 2015, he received a course of radiotherapy treatment for aggressive fibromatosis on the chest. The six week period he spent in Manchester for this treatment formed the basis for his novel.
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 Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod is held on Castle Meadows, Abergavenny until 6 August. For more information go to www.eisteddfod.wales.