Cardiff-raised author, Giancarlo Gemin, has scooped the annual Tir na n-Og award with his debut book, Cowgirl.
The awards, organised by the Welsh Books Council, and sponsored by Cilip Wales, celebrate the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background. The award was presented to Giancarlo Gemin at Swansea Central Library this evening, 14 May.
Cowgirl is the funny yet moving story of Gemma. Growing up on the embattled Mawr Estate in south Wales, all Gemma sees are burglaries, sadness and boredom. With a dad in prison and a mum who has given up hope, she’s holding out for better times ahead. With the abrupt arrival of Cowgirl, the big angry weirdo girl from school, everything in Gemma’s life starts to look different.
The panel of judges agreed that Cowgirl skilfully showed aspects of contemporary life in Wales, and is brimming with personality. Bev Bannon, Chair of the Tir na n-Og English-language panel stated of the winner, ‘Cowgirl is a great read and Giancarlo has done a superb job in developing that feel-good factor in the novel’.
Giancarlo Gemin, who is currently developing his second novel based on the Italian-run cafes of south Wales, stated, ‘I’m delighted to win the Tir na n-Og award – it’s great to win this important prize for my debut book, as it certainly encourages me to keep writing. I was very moved and proud to receive such an acknowledgement from my native country. Cowgirl was the first book I decided to set in Wales, and in writing it felt immediately at home.’