Professor Mererid Hopwood wins the inaugural Emyr Humphreys prize


Yesterday, Wales PEN Cymru announced that Professor Mererid Hopwood from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David was one of the inaugural prize winners of the Emyr Humphreys Award.

Yr Athro / Professor Mererid Hopwood

Professor Mererid Hopwood, UWTSD.

Mererid Hopwood was awarded the Welsh language prize with journalist, Mark S Redfern awarded the English language accolade.

The award was given to the most daring and innovative writing about Wales, in Welsh and in English, published during 2019 - Emyr Humphrey’s centenary. The announcement came on the author’s 101st birthday.  

The pieces were nominated by PEN Cymru members, and the winners was selected from the long list by the adjudicators Siân Northey, Eluned Gramich and Professor Daniel Williams. 

Mererid Hopwood was awarded for her essay ‘Doethineb Iaith’ ('Wisdom of Language’), published in the Summer 2019 issue of O’r Pedwar Gwynt.  

Siân Northey says in her adjudication: “Mererid Hopwood’s clear rationale and her linguistic agility to naturally convey that rationale succeeds in creating a piece that will be of interest to everyone in Wales and beyond who is interested in the relationship between language and identity.” 

Mererid Hopwood has been teaching for most of the last thirty years in the field of language and literature. She is now Professor of Languages and Welsh Curriculum at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  

Mark S Redfern was awarded for his essay 'When Vice came to Swansea', published in Planet, Winter 2019. The essay describes, and criticises, a documentary video made by Vice which became a population on YouTube. 

Discussing the competition as well as Emyr Humphreys’ contribution to Welsh literature, Menna Elfyn, Wales PEN Cymru President, said:  “It is difficult to think of another literary figure who has contributed more to the two literatures of Wales than Emyr Humphreys. He has published some two dozen works of fiction, plays and scripts for television, poetry collections, seminal essays as well as a visionary cultural history of Wales. This achievement is indeed remarkable, to have sustained a remarkable career spanning over seventy years as a writer. What better way to note his achievement, and celebrate his 100th birthday, than establishing an award in Wales PEN Cymru’s name, an institution that, like Emyr himself, advocates freedom of speech and promotes literature in every country.” 

Both winners are awarded £500 each, and an online event will be held at the end of the month, with the winners and adjudicators, where there will be an opportunity to hear a reading of the winning pieces. 

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