The Mary Vaughan Jones Award

The Mary Vaughan Jones Award is presented once every three years to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to children’s books in Wales over a considerable period of time.

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Honouring a Children's Author: The Mary Vaughan Jones Award 2018

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The contribution of the late Gareth F. Williams to literature for children and young people will be celebrated with the 2018 Mary Vaughan Jones Award.

The Award – presented once every three years by the Welsh Books Council in memory of the author Mary Vaughan Jones, who died in 1983 – is presented to a person who has made a special contribution to the field of children’s literature in Wales over many years.

Gareth F. Williams is recognised as one of Wales’ most important authors of literature for children and young people.

Originally from Porthmadog, he received his early education at Ysgol Eifion Wyn and Ysgol Eifionydd, before studying at Bangor University and qualifying as a teacher at Wrexham where he taught Welsh at Ruabon School between 1979 and 1985.

He spent a period living at Beddau, near Pontypridd, before moving to Gileston, Vale of Glamorgan, in later years. He died in 2016 aged 61.

Gareth F. Williams wrote for stage and screen and was known for co-creating popular television series for S4C such as Pengelli and Rownd a Rownd.

But Gareth F. became best known as a gifted author who made his living by writing, and for the last fifty years he was responsible for over 20 titles for children, young people and adults.

He won the Tir na n-Og award on six occasions, including 2015, when he scooped the double by also winning the Wales Book of the Year with the novel Awst yn Anogia.

‘Gareth F. Williams’ contribution has been key to the development of children and young people’s literature in Wales,’ said Helen Jones, Head of Children’s Literature and Reading Promotion at the Welsh Books Council. ‘We believe that the lasting effect of his legacy is immeasurable. Honouring Gareth F. with the Mary Vaughan Jones Award – the greatest accolade in children’s literature in Wales – is a recognition of his contribution and work over many years.’

The Award was presented to members of Gareth F Williams’ family at a special event at Portmeirion on Thursday evening, 18 October 2018 and is illustrated with characters from Mary Vaughan Jones’ books such as Sali Mali and Jac y Jwc.

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Bethan Gwanas co-ordinated the presentation with contributions by Manon Steffan Ros, Meinir Wyn Edwards and pupils from Ysgol Uwchradd Eifionydd as well as a musical item by Siwan Llynor ac Emyr Rhys.

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Hampers containing titles by Gareth F Williams were gifted to Ysgol Eifion Wyn and Ysgol Eifionydd by the Welsh Books Council to mark the occasion.

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Since its inception in 1985, the Mary Vaughan Jones Award has been presented to Ifor Owen, Emily Huws, T. Llew Jones, W. J. Jones, Roger Boore, J. Selwyn Lloyd, Elfyn Pritchard, Mair Wynn Hughes, Angharad Tomos, Jac Jones and Siân Lewis.

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2015 Siân Lewis
2012 Jac Jones
2009 Angharad Tomos
2006 Mair Wynn Hughes
2003 Elfyn Pritchard
2000 J Selwyn Lloyd
1997 Roger Boore
1994 W J Jones
1991 T Llew Jones
1988 Emily Huws
1985 Ifor Owen

Mary Vaughan Jones (1918-1983)

This award was established as a tribute to Mary Vaughan Jones, one of the main benefactors of children’s literature in Wales.

Mary Vaughan Jones was a gifted infants’ teacher, and her contribution to Welsh education as a teacher and lecturer was considerable. Her main contribution, however, was to children’s literature – for over a period of thirty years. Although she was crippled with arthritis and mainly confined to her home, she continued to write for the younger age-group right up until her death. She published over 40 books and was a regular contributor to the Urdd magazines.