University of Wales Literary Awards

Posted on 21 December 2021
Picture2 CAWCS

Professor Robin Chapman Stacey, Dr Jenny Day, Dr Siwan Rosser

The University of Wales Y Werin Legacy Fund has awarded its annual prizes to scholars for their work in three specific research fields.

The Hywel Dda Prize, Sir Ellis-Griffith Memorial Prize, and The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize/Award are annual awards presented by the University for academic publications.

Professor Robin Chapman Stacey from Washington University received the Hywel Dda Award for her lifelong contribution to the field. Robin Chapman Stacey is currently Professor of History and Adjunct Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. A graduate of Oxford and Yale, she is the author of three books and several articles on the subject of law in medieval Wales and Ireland, including The Road to   Judgment:  From Custom to Court in Medieval Ireland and Wales (1994); Dark Speech: The Performance of Law in Early Ireland (2007); and Law and the Imagination in Medieval Wales (2018). 

The prize is provided from the income of a fund raised by public subscription to commemorate the millenary celebrations of Hywel Dda held in 1928.

Professor Stacey said:‘I am immensely honoured by this award and very grateful indeed to the Canolfan and the University of Wales for its support over the years.  As it happens, my retirement date is now this month, and we all know what a time that is for stock-taking. Given the great scholars who have previously been honoured in this way, I am astonished and humbled to find myself on the list. Thank you so very much.’  

The Vernam Hull Prize/Award was awarded to Dr Jenny Day for her edition of Buchedd Martin. Dr Jenny Day is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and an Assistant Editor for Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru. She began her career as a scientist, having completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, then after studying part-time for a BA in Welsh at Aberystwyth University she went on to complete a PhD, also at Aberystwyth, on military aspects of medieval Welsh poetry. She has been a member of staff at CAWCS since 2009 and has contributed to a series of projects including ‘The Poetry of Guto’r Glyn’ and ‘The ‘Sacred Landscapes of Medieval Monasteries’, as well as ‘The Cult of the Saints in Wales’ project. Her work on the Welsh Life of St Martin formed part of that project and is published with open access at:

The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize/Award is provided from the income of a bequest of $10,000 to the University of Wales by the late Dr Vernam Edward Nunnemacher Hull (1894-1976), Professor of Celtic Languages at Harvard University, who was awarded the degree of DLitt honoris causa by the University of Wales on the occasion of the International Congress of Celtic Studies in 1963.

Dr Jenny Day said: ‘It is a great pleasure and privilege to have been awarded the Vernam Hull Memorial Prize for my on-line edition of the Welsh Life of St Martin. The original, Latin Life is one of the earliest and most important saints’ Lives, and its respectful, sensitive translation by Siôn Trefor of Pentrecynfrig, near Chirk, reflects the flourishing literary culture of north-east Wales in the later Middle Ages. Studying this text was a particularly rewarding experience for me and I am very grateful to Cronfa Dreftadaeth Y Werin Prifysgol Cymru for recognizing my work on the edition.


The Sir Ellis-Griffith Memorial Prize was awarded to Dr Siwan Rosser for her book Darllen y Dychymyg: creu ystyron newydd i blant a phlentyndod yn llenyddiaeth y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg (GPC, 2020).

Dr Siwan Rosser is senior lecturer and deputy head at the School of Welsh, Cardiff University. Originally from Flintshire, she graduated in Welsh at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth before undertaking postgraduate research on eighteenth-century popular literature. Her research expertise now focuses on Welsh literature for children and her activity in this area has generated a new understanding and discussion about the significance and role of literature for young readers. Since 2017, the findings of her review of Welsh books for children and young adults inform the Books Council of Wales’ strategy to support the children’s publishing industry, and her publications on topics such as translation and nationhood have established Welsh children's literature as a recognised and meaningful area of study. Her volume on nineteenth-century children’s literature and the concept of childhood, Darllen y Dychymyg: creu ystyron newydd i blant a phlentyndod yn llenyddiaeth y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg (University of Wales Press), is the first extended publication on Welsh literature for children and was shortlisted for the Welsh Book of the Year Award 2021.

The Award is presented annually from the Ellis-Griffith Fund in the name of the University of Wales for the best work in Welsh on Welsh authors or their work, Welsh artists and artisans or their work. The Prize is provided from a Fund raised mainly in Anglesey and London to perpetuate the memory of the late Right Honourable Sir Ellis Jones Ellis-Griffith MA KC PC (1860-1926), a former Member of Parliament representing the County of Anglesey. 


Dr Rosser said: ‘It is a great honour to receive the Sir Ellis Griffith Memorial Prize. I am extremely grateful to the judges for awarding this prize for the volume Darllen y Dychymyg, which explores the origins of Welsh children's literature. Publishing during the pandemic has been a strange experience, in many respects. As it was not possible to engage with readers in the usual ways, knowing that the volume pleased the judges of this award is a source of great pride. I would like to thank everyone for their support, especially the staff at University of Wales Press.


On behalf of the Trustees, Margaret Evans said:

It is greatly encouraging to see and congratulate the three successful awards this year. For the Trustees of Y Werin Legacy Fund, this further celebration of the importance of the Fund and the prizes and scholarships that have been awarded over the generations. There are deep historical foundations here, coupled with the Fund’s ongoing work to support and reward success.

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies said:

We are very proud to be part of these prizes which are awarded for the highest standard of academic endeavour. I would like to thank the adjudicators for their careful consideration and most of all to congratulate this year’s three winners on their achievement.


Search News

Select Category

Related Articles