2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing Winner’s Acceptance Speech

Manon Steffan Ros, June 2023

I used to see the word Carnegie on the covers of my favourite books as a child, and the fact that The Blue Book of Nebo now has that honour bestowed upon it means more than I can say. Thank you so very much to the judges – the fact that they love and spend time with so many books makes this all the more meaningful. I’d also like to offer my congratulations to all the other shortlisted authors, and to convey my admiration for their work – I’ve read and adored their books, and am still a little mindblown that my story has been listed alongside theirs. Thanks too to the shadowing groups – I’ve been keeping an eye on your discussions online and you’ve made me view my book through a whole new lens.

There are too many people to thank, and too little time, but I’ll have a go. Firstly, to Christopher Combemale, my agent at Stirling Lord Literistic, whose support, hard work and occassional pep talks have been truly transformative. To the Lolfa, Meinir Wyn Edwards, Alun Jones, the Eisteddfod, the Wales Literature Exchange, Words Without Borders, the Books Council of Wales and Literature Wales, my heartfelt thanks for consistent and unwavering support. Diolch to my family and friends, particularly father, and my late mother, Siân, who continued to read to me long after I learned to read independently. My children, Efan, Ger and Morfudd, and my partner, Robin, for the peace, inspiration and absolute unfiltered joy they bring. Most of all, thanks to Firefly Press – I don’t quite have the words for the magic you conjure or for the infectious and wonderful love you have for books. Thanks so much to the whole team, but especially to Penny Thomas – I’m so glad we did this together.

One of the greatest privileges of my life has been the fact that I was raised through the medium of the Welsh language. Having two languages from the outset of my life has brought me so much joy and opportunity. There’s a huge, lively, thriving Welsh language cultural scene that I’m honoured to be a part of. I’m told that The Blue Book of Nebo is the first book in translation to win the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing, a fact that is a source of great delight and hope for me. I can confidently tell you that this book is the tiniest speck on the very tip of a massive iceburg of Welsh language literature that you would love. Each language offers a unique and enriching perspective on the world, and so literature in translation has the potential to enhance our lives greatly. Your favourite book might not yet be translated into a language that you understand.

Thank you – Diolch yn fawr.