A PONTYPOOL-BASED author scooped the top prize at the 2019 New Welsh Writing Awards.

JL George won the Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella with her novella The Word.

The book is about a teenage duo, Rhydian and Jonno, and balances big concepts such as ethics, language, propaganda and control with a human story of flight and finding love and trust where you can.

Both JL George and Peter Goulding, the winner of the Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting, were presented at the ceremony at Hay Festival on Friday, May 24 with a cheque for £1,000 as advance against e-publication by New Welsh Review under their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint.

South Wales Argus:

They will also receive a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.

The awards were set up in 2015 to champion the best short form writing.

New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies judged the awards with help from students from Aberystwyth University for the dystopian novella category.

She said: “In the Dystopian Prize, JL George’s The Word manages to place at the heart of her ambitious novella, which explores ideas about propaganda, communication and cohesion, a touching and compelling story of friendship between two teenage boys on the run.”


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Dr Louise Marshall, head of the department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University said: “These awards demonstrate the incredible breadth and variety of new writing emerging from and connected to Wales.

“This year the Aberystwyth University Prize celebrates writing in a perennially popular genre that is often overlooked by prestigious literary awards and J L George's The Word is an excellent example of dystopian fiction at its very best - topical, compelling, provocative writing.

“We wish all of the winners the very best for their future and we look forward to reading more from these exceptional writers in the years to come.”