New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella Longlist 

New Welsh Review in association with AmeriCymru is delighted to announce the longlist for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella. 

Both new and established writers based in Wales, England and the US are in the running for the top prize. Among the novellas, sexual abuse or the threat of it are among the themes; also homosexuality in a Welsh monastery; the meanings and mystery of treasures old and new; escaping the shadow of a father figure, and the enduring healing and destructive powers of archetypes and idols. 

New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies judged both categories with help from students from Aberystwyth University. The shortlist for the Novella category will now be co-judged by Welsh-American writer David Lloyd. David is the author of nine books including poetry collections and novels, and directs the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.

Gwen Davies, editor of New Welsh Review said: ‘These Awards keep going from strength to strength in their third year with a much-increased number of entries and an excellent standard of writing. Carving Strangers, a South-Africa set novel about female emancipation, wood-carving and illegal diamonds, didn’t make it to the longlist but deserves a special mention for the quality and flow of its prose. The novella category, in particular, this year offers a range of voice and expertise of style, as well as historical span, that bodes well for the future of the novella in Wales, a place that has long been a haven for the shorter form in literature.’

Congratulations to our long listed and commended writers below:

Cath Barton (Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales) The Plankton Collector

This combination of magical realism and a realistic tale has the sense of being a gentle pastiche of an idyllic world populated by archetypes who will help us heal and learn. It tells of various family traumas being faced through the intercession of the mysterious Plankton Collector: infidelity, a closeted gay husband, the death of kin. Ultimately, memory and trauma work in tandem, and the power of imagination triumphs.

Cath Barton was born in the English Midlands and now lives in Abergavenny, south Wales. Her short stories have been published in anthologies in Australia, the US and the UK, and her flash fiction has appeared on-line in Fictive Dream, Firefly Magazine and Long Exposure, amongst other places. Cath was Literature Editor of California-based Celtic Family Magazine (2013-2016) and is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review.

 


Rebecca Casson (Holywell, Flintshire, Wales) Infirmarian

Complex and authentic first-person narrative of homosexuality, sickness, healing and herbs in a Welsh monastery. Two novices go missing and are found with an interesting, gender-bending twist and a story of unrequited love.

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Rebecca Casson is originally from North Yorkshire but travelled widely as a child with her army family. Graduating from Liverpool University in 2010 with an MA in Classics, she qualified as a teacher and now teaches Latin, Classical Civilisation and Ancient Greek at a girls’ school in Chester. As yet unpublished, Rebecca currently lives in North Wales with her husband and enjoys writing fiction in her free time.


Barbara de la Cuesta (Seaside Heights, New Jersey, US) Exiles

Atmospheric and nuanced story of expat life penetrated by local characters and dangerous politics. The language, food, landscape and customs of Cuba are vivid. Themes include gender politics, the unknowability of others, sacrifice, chance, injustice, class, privilege and poverty. The value of love is held up to that of pragmatism and convention.

Barbara de la Cuesta has one published novel, The Spanish Teacher, winner of the Gival Press Fiction Prize in 2007.  She has been past recipient of fellowships in fiction from the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation, and the New Jersey Council on the Arts, as well as residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, The Virginia Center, and the Millay Colony.  Her poetry collection will be published this year by Finishing Line Press. She lives in New Jersey and has taught English as a Second Language and Spanish for many years.


Nicola Daly (Chester, Cheshire) The Night Where you no Longer Live

First person dark European fairytale about abuse, cross-dressing and Claudette’s desperate attempts to escape a cruel, dead father’s shadow and a living brother’s evil intent. The unusual, unsettling language here is compelling, as is Claudette’s immediate voice. Enriched with references to modern Paris as well as Baudelaire and Sartre.

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Nicola Daly was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire in 1974. However for most of her life she has lived in Chester. Her short stories, non- fiction work and poetry has been widely published by a variety of publications such as Honno Women’s Press, The North West Arts Council Anthologies, Myslexia, Rialto, and many more.


Olivia Gwyne (Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland) The Seal

This is the story of unequal power, and the grooming of an eleven year old girl by a nineteen year old male. He spots the source of her vulnerability in her crazy religious Nana and her fearful mother. Strong beach and caravan-site settings coupled with the cat-and-mouse story make compelling reading.

Olivia Gwyne, originally from Hereford, is now based in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 2015 her pamphlet of short stories, The Kittens’ Wedding, was published by Womach Press, and the same year she won the SASH Writing Prize. Olivia has also been shortlisted for the Wells Short Story Competition, the Home Start Short Story Prize and the Horror Scribes Flash Fiction Ghost Story Competition. Her work was recently featured in Halo Literary Magazine. She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Newcastle University.   


Atar Hadari (Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire) Burning Poets

A curiously perplexing account of a famous, passionate, deceased poet: her life and its many hurts, in tandem with an ambitious academic later in time, who attempts to uncover the secrets of her passing. the reader is haunted by the voice and words of a woman with deep, ardent, almost animalistic hopes, desires and vices.

Atar Hadari was born in Israel, raised in England, trained as an actor and writer at the University of East Anglia before winning a scholarship to study poetry and playwrighting with Derek Walcott at Boston University. His plays and songs have won many awards. 


Joao Morais (Cardiff, Wales) Smugglers' Tunnel

A historical tale of 19th century Cardiff that takes some surprising twists and turns; charting the journey of a young man struggling to escape the shadow of his late father, while uncovering the mystery behind a most exotic trinket. A wide cast of characters inhabit a vividly formed, urban world of desperation and poverty.

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Joao Morais lives in Cardiff. He is about to complete a PhD in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. He has previously been shortlisted for the Academi Rhys Davies Short Story Prize, the Percy French Prize for Comic Verse, and the All Wales Comic Verse Award. He won the 2013 Terry Hetherington Prize for Young Writers. He has a short story collection due out next year with Parthian. 


Veronica Popp (Chicago, US) Sick

A writer in her early 20s has a mother in hospital dying of liver cancer. The protagonist is in an obsessive, toxic relationship based on meaningless sex. Pleasure circles evasion as conventional ‘doctor’-patient roles are overturned. 

Veronica Popp is an activist and writer throughout the city of Chicago. She has a Bachelor’s from Elmhurst College in English and History, a Master’s in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and a Master’s in English with a concentration in Literary Studies from Western Illinois University. Popp has been published by many magazines and journals. Popp was recently nominated for the Silver Pen Writers Association Writing Well Award. Last year, she was a Teaching Artist and Co-Editor of student writing for Young Chicago Authors. The resulting work titled The End of Chiraq will be published by Northwestern University Press. Popp teaches composition at Elmhurst College and recently completed her first novel, The Longest Summer, out for submission to literary agents.


Mike Tuohy (Jefferson, Georgia, US) Double Nickel Jackpot

Pacey, dialogue-driven, filmic, comic, coming-of-age anti-bromance. Parker and Lee, drifting since school, turn their access to the police car pool to their advantage in a joyride through the Bayou badlands. Things turn very nasty indeed.

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Mike Tuohy was born in New Jersey in 1954. Moving to Georgia in 1965, he has sopped up Southern Culture ever since. A professional geologist, Mike works the environmental consulting rackets by day and writes at night, making friends, family and co-workers nervous as he chronicles the preposterous through short stories, novellas and a novel-in-progress. 17 of his short stories, including two collaborations and a Pushcart nominee, have been published.  A two-time finalist in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, he has a total of nine words in that prestigious publication. Mike lives with his wife Sally in an earth-sheltered home by the North Oconee River near Jefferson, Georgia.


commended

Amanda Oosthuizen (Eastleigh, Hampshire) Carving Strangers