The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies awards its annual prizes

Posted on 9 October 2020



The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies awards its annual prizes to three Welsh authors

The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies has awarded its annual prizes to three authors from Wales.

The Hywel Dda Prize, the Sir Ellis-Griffith Memorial Prize, and The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize/Award are annual awards presented by the Centre for academic publications, and this year’s winners are Professor R. Gwynedd Parry; Dr Diana Luft and Professor Hazel Walford Davies.

“The standard of competition for the three prizes was very high this year, and the University of Wales is very glad of this opportunity to acknowledge new scholarship of the highest level,” said Professor Dafydd Johnston, Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.

Professor R. Gwynedd Parry of Swansea University received the Hywel Dda Prize for his volume Y Gyfraith yn ein Llên (University of Wales Press), an innovative volume which tells the story of the literary response to the ideas, officers and institutions of the law.

It contains a thematic and panoramic study which traces the law in Welsh literature from the early middle ages up until our times. We get to praise and elegise, thank and satirise, laugh and cry, all testifying to the importance of the law in society, and the role of literature as a medium for expressing an opinion on justice. We also come to understand the proper place of the law in our national identity through the ages, via the medium of craft and inspiration. This is the first time a comprehensive study of the field has appeared, and it breaks new ground in Welsh legal historiography as well as making an important contribution to literary historiography.

Professor R. Gwynedd Parry is a barrister and an academic at Swansea University.  He was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2010, and Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2018.

This 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 R.Gwynedd Parry said: “It is a great honour to receive the Hywel Dda Prize, especially when remembering past winners and their innovative contributions to the field. I owe a great debt to the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies for this valuable recognition. I am also grateful to the University of Wales Press for their support and care in bringing the volume to light.”

The Sir Ellis-Griffith Memorial Prize was awarded to Professor Hazel Walford Davies for her volume, O.M. - Cofiant Syr Owen Morgan Edwards (Gomer Press), the first ever complete biography of the life of O.M. Edwards. 

A politician, scholar, writer and journalist from Llanuwchllyn, Gwynedd, Owen Morgan Edwards was famous for publishing magazines for adults and children as well as writing books and essays on history, politics and travel.

“It is a pleasure and great privilege for me to accept this important prize, and to do so in 2020, the centenary of the death of Sir O.M. Edwards, one of our nation’s greatest benefactors,” said Hazel Walford Davies.

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 works, or those of Welsh artists and artisans. 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. 

The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize/Award was presented to Dr Diana Luft for her volume Medieval Welsh Medical Texts (University of Wales Press). 

An experienced translator, Dr Diana Luft was also Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies from 2015-19.

This volume presents the first critical edition and translation of a corpus of Welsh medieval medical recipes traditionally attributed to the Physicians of Myddfai. These offer practical treatments for a variety of everyday conditions such as toothache, constipation and gout. The recipes have been edited from the four earliest collections of Welsh medical texts in manuscript, which date from the end of the fourteenth century.

“I’m extremely grateful to the panel for their decision to recognise Medieval Welsh Medical Texts this year,” said Dr Diana Luft.  “It is a true honour to have this work recognised in this way, especially in light of the previous holders of this award, and the number of excellent works published in the field this year. This is a truly unexpected, but very gratefully received honour.”

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.

The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies is recognised as an international centre of excellence for its work on Welsh, together with the languages, literatures, histories and cultures of the other Celtic countries.   The Centre is also responsible for maintaining the University of Wales Dictionary of the Welsh Language, and amongst a number of its well-known projects are those on the Poets of the Princes (Beirdd y Tywysogion) and the Poets of the Nobility (Beirdd yr Uchelwyr).  Its current work encompasses the early history of the Celtic languages, the Cult of Saints in Wales, travel literature and place names





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