National Eisteddfod crowned bard Mererid Hopwood from Carmarthen has won the 2018 Tir na n-Og Welsh language award for children’s literature.

The Welsh Books Council, who sponsors the award, announced the winners of the 2018 Tir na n-Og Welsh-language Awards at the Brecon and Radnorshire Urdd National Eisteddfod at Builth Wells on Thursday, May 31.

The award was presented to Mererid in a special ceremony held in the pavilion for her book Miss Prydderch a’r Carped Hud  published by Carmarthen-based Gomer.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are presented annually by the Welsh Books Council to the authors of the best books for children and young people published during the previous year. The awards were established in 1976.

The primary school category award went to Mererid Hopwood from Carmarthen, winning with the first in a series of novels about the adventures of extraordinary teacher Miss Prydderch.

On receiving the prize, Mererid said: ‘Winning the Tir na n-Og Award for the first novel in the Dosbarth Miss Prydderch series is a great creative boost for me. I should like to take the opportunity to thank Gomer for supporting the initial idea and to Nia Parry and the team for putting up with all the scribbles and bubbles and “stuff”. My thanks also to Rhys Bevan Jones for the wonderful illustrations and to the Welsh Books Council for all its encouragement.’

Llinos Davies, Chair of the Judging Panel said: ‘Here is a novel with a light, contemporary feel, like a welcome breath of fresh air. The author and illustrator have taken the opportunity to bridge the gap between technology and the printed word which is a way of ensuring the appeal of books in the face of competition from so many places.’

She added: ‘The short margin notes offer an explanation of challenging words and phrases. This gives children confidence when faced with new vocabulary and gives learning unfamiliar phrases a fun dimension.’

There are two more titles available in the Miss Prydderch series - Dosbarth Miss Prydderch a Silff y Sarff and Dosbarth Miss Prydderch a Lleidr y Lleisiau. The next volume of Dosbarth Miss Prydderch’s adventures will be launched at the National Eisteddfod in August.

Each book in the Miss Prydderch series is available now at bookshops or gwales.com priced £5.99. A pack of Miss Prydderch’s first three adventures is available for £14.99.

For further information contact Gomer marketing officer Cathryn Ings on 01267 221400 or e-mail cathryn.ings@gomer.co.uk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in Cardiff, Mererid graduated from Aberystwyth University in Spanish and German before completing her doctorate at University College London. She now lives with her family in Carmarthen where she teaches at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Mererid is the only woman to win all three of the National Eisteddfod’s main literary prizes.