USW Professor and Writing Fellow shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year

Philip Gross

Two University of South Wales academics have been shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2016 in recognition of their poetry.

Professor Philip Gross (pictured above) and Paul Henry are both in the running for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award, one of the categories of the annual competition. Both are widely published and prizewinning writers, with Philip’s eighteenth poetry collection, Love Songs of Carbon, shortlisted alongside Paul’s eighth collection, Boy Running

Born in Cornwall, Philip now lives in Penarth and is Professor of Creative Writing at the University. He is also the author of 10 novels for young people.

On being shortlisted, Philip said: “Each new book is different; each one is a child leaving home. The fact that a previous book of mine, I Spy Pinhole Eye, was a winner of Wales Book of the Year makes little difference; it's the book at stake, not the author.

Love Songs of Carbon is born of this particular moment of life, the age I am, and in particular what love means at this age. I want it to go where people will listen to it as if it just might really matter, and have their own conversations with it, bringing their own experiences to meet it.”

Paul-Henry (photo by Zed Nelson) 

(Image by Zed Nelson)

Paul is originally from Aberystwyth and came to poetry through songwriting. The author of nine books of poetry, he recently gained his doctorate in Creative Writing from USW and is a Writing Fellow on the University’s MPhil in Writing.

He added: “Writers are competing with the dead and not the living. But it’s heartening that Boy Running has been shortlisted for this prize, and that it’s in such good company.”

Also a broadcaster, Paul will present David Jones – the space between for BBC Radio Wales’s Arts show on 29th June.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in July, with each category winner receiving a £1,000 prize.

Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales, who organise the awards, said: “We are extremely proud that the Wales Book of the Year Award can promote the richness and diversity of contemporary Welsh literature. The 2016 shortlist is proof, if proof was needed that the writers of Wales continue to make their mark on the world’s literary map.”