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Swansea three longlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2011

Books by three academic staff from Swansea University’s Department of English have been longlisted for a Wales Book of the Year 2011 award.

The awards, which are organised by Literature Wales and are worth £10,000, are presented annually to the authors of the best books of the year in English and Welsh.

Among the 10 books longlisted in the English language category this year are Professor Stevie Davies’ sweeping historical novel Into Suez (Parthian Books), which spans from 1950s Egypt to the present day; Professor Dai Smith’s non-fiction cultural history In the Frame: Memory in Society 1910 to 2010 (Parthian Books), which recaptures life and culture in the Valleys; and Professor M Wynn Thomas’ pioneering new histo-cultural study In the Shadow of the Pulpit: Literature and Nonconformist Wales (University of Wales Press).

This year’s English language category judges are writer and editor Francesca Rhydderch (Chair), fiction writer and Wales Book of the Year 2009 winner Deborah Kay Davies, and author and broadcaster Jon Gower.

Deborah Kay Davies, one of the judges, said: “We are more than happy with this year's list: it is a strong, accomplished selection that consists of fascinating books – by turns lyrical, knowledgeable and highly imaginative.”

Professor Stevie Davies, Director of Creative Writing at the University, said: “It is a real honour to be chosen for the Wales Book of the Year longlist, alongside my distinguished colleagues.”

Professor Dai Smith, the Raymond Williams Chair of Cultural History at the University, said: "It is always a pleasure to have work recognised, beyond its content, for the actual quality of the writing itself, a prerequisite for inclusion on the longlist for Wales Book of the Year, but for me this year there is the added frisson of delight that comes with being one of the Swansea Three!"

Professor M Wynn Thomas, Emyr Humphries Professor of Welsh Writing in English at the University, said: “It is good to see a book in this category being recognised, because there is no prize in Wales (unlike England) for ‘non-creative’ writing, despite its importance in the culture.”

The three English language books and three Welsh language books shortlisted will be announced simultaneously at two events in Cardiff on Thursday, May 19.

The Wales Book of the Year 2011 winners will then be announced at an awards ceremony in Cardiff on Thursday, July 7.

Literature Wales – formerly Academi – is the National Company for the development of literature in Wales. For more information, visit http://www.literaturewales.org/home/.

For more information about Swansea University’s Department of English visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/english/.

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