Newport author up for £30k literary award

First published in News

AN AWARD-winning short story author has been nominated for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story prize.

Carys Davies, who lived in Newport during her childhood, has been long-listed for the £30,000 award for her story On Commercial Hill, set in an imaginary town in the Welsh Valleys.

The 53-year-old mother-of-four lived in Newport until she was 10 and attended Glasllwch Primary School off the Risca Road.

The Lancaster-based writer is delighted to have been nominated for the award and will find out whether she has made the shortlist on March 2.

She said: “The award is very high profile, a lot of people seem to have heard about it, and so it is fantastic to be up for it along with some Pulitzer Prize winners, although it is a bit intimidating!”

Mrs Davies’ story is about the half-truths and memory and how our choices affect us and the people we love.

“This particular story is very close to my heart and one of my personal favourites,” she said. “It has taken me so long to write this story, about six or seven years.

“It is an incredibly short story – only four pages long, but what I love about short stories is that they have the whole of life revolving around one critical moment.

“Although the sweep of the story spans several years it is building up to that one moment of crisis.”

The former US-based journalist is one of 16 long-listed writers, including a line-up of Pulitzer Prize-winners and newcomers.

“Most of my stories tend to be quite remote from my own experience in terms of time and place and situation, but this one does have its roots in my own family background in that it’s set in an unnamed town in the Welsh valleys,” she added.

“The town is based on the place where my father was born and grew up and where I spent time as a child visiting my grandmother. It started with a nickname I once heard that belonged to a man in that town or another town like it.

“I began dreaming up stories that tried to answer the question and eventually I wrote this one.

“The name itself is no longer a part of it – like most of my stories On Commercial Hill ended up a long way from where it began!”

The winner will be selected by a panel of judges including former Man Booker judge David Baddiel, Booker shortlisted novelist and short story writer Sarah Hall, and Sunday Times chief literary critic and former Man Booker chairman Professor John Carey.

The winner will be announced on April 4.

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