Thursday, 17 September 2009

Italian award for Welsh author

A Welsh author has been chosen by an Italian city to receive a special award for his contribution to minority language literature.

Harri Pritchard Jones who lives in Cardiff will be honoured at a ceremony in Sassari, Sardinia, on Saturday 19 September 2009.

The award follows a visit to Sardinia last year when he and three other authors from Wales were invited to take part in a literary conference on the island. The visit was organised by Andrea Bianchi and Silvana Siviero - directors of the 'Geiriau o Gymru/Parole dal Galles' series which has seen 13 Welsh books translated into Italian, including collection of short stories by Harri Pritchard Jones.

"I was amazed by the news that I had won this award. I have spoken at a number of literary events in Italy and some of my work has been translated and published there - but I was not expecting an honour like this," said Harri Pritchard Jones, who is currently joint chair of the Academi.

"There is a real interest in Welsh literature in Italy and authors from Wales are always given a warm welcome by the Italians. I'm in the process of learning Italian and I hope to be able to use a little of the language when I'm in Sassari."

The City of Sassari International Award for Minority Languages is given biannually to writers who have made a special contribution to minority language literature.

The prize is promoted by the University of Sassari and the city council, and previous recipients include leading Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Ukrainian writer Oleksandr Irvanet.

"We are delighted that Harri Pritchard Jones has been selected to receive this award," said Sioned Puw Rowlands, Director of Wales Literature Exchange which promotes literature from Wales across the world.

"We have been developing literary links with Italy for several years and a number of books from Wales have been translated into Italian as a result. This award shows once again that there is a real appetite for literature from Wales outside our own country,"

Harri Pritchard Jones will return to Italy in November 2009 with fellow writer Menna Elfyn to speak at a series of literary events in Bologna, Venice and Udine.


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