Gwobr Nofel Gyntaf Crime Cymru First Novel Prize

Launching the Gwobr Nofel Gyntaf Crime Cymru First Novel Prize: a new crime writing prize for Wales

by Katherine Stansfield

Top row, left to right: Jon Gower, Sian Northey, Gwen Davies. Bottom row, left to right: Clare Mackintosh, Awais Khan, Peter Buckman. Image credits: Gwen Davies’ photograph – Jessica Raby; Clare Mackintosh’s photograph – Charlie Hopkinson.

Have you got an idea for a crime novel? Do you know someone who fancies penning a mystery that keeps readers up all night? If so, Crime Cymru has some very exciting news.

            We’re thrilled to be launching a new prize for the new crime writers of Wales. The inaugural Gwobr Nofel Gyntaf Crime Cymru First Novel Prize will champion new crime writers who are currently living in Wales, providing a platform for their work and supporting their writing development. Developing new writing talent is one of our core aims as a collective (which you can read about here), and our new prize is an important milestone in achieving that goal.

            Because the emphasis is on ‘development’, entrants don’t need to have written the whole novel to enter – we’re looking for potential rather than the finished product. We want to be wowed by the first 5,000 words of your crime novel and a synopsis which lays out the rest of the plot, including the ending. As our membership shows, contemporary crime fiction is a broad field: police procedurals, private detectives, historical crime and modern-day settings, urban and rural, cosy and hard-boiled. We’re hoping that entries to the prize will reflect this diversity of genre so whatever kind of crime fiction you write, whether it’s set in Wales or beyond the border, we want to read your submissions!

            Writers can submit in English or in Welsh and there will be two winners: one in each language. We have two fantastic judging panels, one for Welsh-language entries and one for entries in English, with Crime Cymru’s own Alison Layland acting as chair. On the Welsh panel are writer and translator Sian Northey, Gwen Davies, translator and editor of New Welsh Review, and Jon Gower, writer and broadcaster. Our English-language judges are Sunday Times bestseller Clare Mackintosh, literary agent Peter Buckman, and rising star of crime fiction Awais Khan. All our judges are giving their time for free and Crime Cymru are extremely grateful for their support.

            We’re also thrilled with the prizes we’re offering in the first year of the prize. Huge thanks to Literature Wales for their generous support in donating the prizes for the winners in each language: a four-night stay in Nant, the gorgeous writing retreat in the grounds of Tŷ Newydd, Wales’ national writing centre. Winners will also be offered a year of mentoring from a Crime Cymru member. Our winners will be announced at a glittering prize ceremony at the 2022 Gŵyl Crime Cymru Festival which will be held in Aberystwyth which you can read about here. Winners and two shortlisted writers in each language category will also receive a full festival pass, giving the opportunity to meet a host of the UK’s top crime writers as well as industry professionals from the world of publishing.

            The prize is free to enter and there’s plenty of time to get entries into shape as the deadline is 3rd September 2021. For full terms and conditions, and how to submit, see the dedicated page on the Crime Cymru website.

            Please help us spread the word to the crime writing stars of tomorrow so we can make our first prize year a great success. We can’t wait to read submissions and celebrate the new crime fiction writers of Wales!

Katherine Stansfield is a member of Crime Cymru. She is a multi-genre novelist and poet. Her historical crime series Cornish Mysteries has won the Holyer an Gof Fiction Prize and been shortlisted for the Winston Graham Memorial Prize. The most recent instalment is The Mermaid’s Call. She co-writes a fantasy crime trilogy with her partner David Towsey, publishing as D. K. Fields, and has also published two full length poetry collections and a pamphlet with Seren.

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