University of Wales Prizes for the best publications

Posted on 25 October 2019

University of Wales Prizes for the three best publications

The University of Wales has awarded its annual prizes to three authors.


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.

Dr Angharad Elias, of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies received the Hywel Dda Award for her book Yr Ail Lyfr Du o’r Waun: Golygiad Beirniadol ac Eglurhaol o Lawysgrif Peniarth 164 (H) Cambridge, 2018. The work is Seminar Cyfraith Hywel’s most recent publication. The volume presents an edition of the most complete version of the law text in manuscript Peniarth 164 (that is, the copy of it in manuscript Peniarth 278) with a full introduction and notes. The contents and form of manuscript Peniarth 164 suggests that it was compiled by an administrator in one of the north-eastern lordships in the second half of the fourteenth century. 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.

Dr Elias said: “It is an honour to be awarded the Hywel Dda prize by the University of Wales. Thank you to the judges and thank you to Seminar Cyfraith Hywel for their support”.

The Sir Ellis-Griffith Memorial Prize was awarded to Dr Bleddyn Huws, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at the University of Aberystwyth, for his work: Pris Cydwybod T H Parry-Williams a Chysgod y Rhyfel Mawrpublished by Y Lolfa. The volume traces the experiences of T. H. Parry-Williams as a conscientious objector during the Great War when the renowed Welsh poet and professor of Welsh at Aberystwyth was persecuted for his personal beliefs, and the effect those experiences had on his personal life and career following the war.

Dr Huws said: “It is a privilege and an honour to receive this award. It is an acknowledgement worth having, especially knowing the honourable list of former winners of the award. Highly distinctive books have been rewarded in the past, books whose value and importance continuing to this day. Having my book on this list makes me feel very humble."

Past winners include Dr Rhianedd Jewell for her study of the translation work of Saunders Lewis, Professor D. Densil Morgan for his work on Lewis Edwards, Wales’s foremost scholar on the nineteenth century, Rhiannon Marks for her insight into the work of Menna Elfyn, and Emeritus Professor Ceri W Lewis on his work on poet and antiquarian Iolo Morganwg.

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. 

The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize/Award was presented to Robin Chapman Stacey, Professor of History at the University of Washington, USA, for her book, Law and the Imagination in Medieval Walespublished by the University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. Professor Stacey explores the idea of law as a form of political fiction: a body of literature that blurs the lines generally drawn between the legal and literary genres. She argues that for jurists of thirteenth-century Wales, legal writing was an intensely imaginative genre and one acutely responsive to nationalist concerns and capable of reproducing them in sophisticated symbolic form. Professor Stacey identifies narrative devices and tropes running throughout successive revisions of the legal texts that frame the body as an analogy for unity and for the court, that equate maleness with authority and just rule and femaleness with its opposite, and that employ descriptions of internal and external landscapes as metaphors for safety and peril, respectively

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.

Professor Stacey said: "I am extremely honoured and grateful to the Welsh Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and to the University of Wales for this award.  It was a very fun book to write, and I am glad to know that others appreciated it.  My thanks to everyone involved, including the specialists at the University of Pennsylvania Press who did such a good job with its production."


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