Terry Hetherington Young Writers Awards: Judges’ Comments


The Terry Hetherington Award for Young Writers
Judges’ Comments

The judges of this year’s Award for Young Writers, named for the late Terry Hetherington, were kind enough to send over their comments on the pieces I submitted.

The competition is held annually for writers born or living in Wales, and has a prize value or £1000. I am honoured and humbled to be the winner of this year’s competition, and am looking forward to seeing all the contributors’ works in print when the anthology launches in June.

The ceremony will be held in The Dylan Thomas Centre on June 24th at 7pm, and is free for all. Come along to listen to poetry, prose and short stories, and pick up our own copy of the Cheval anthology, in association with Parthian.

A Twenty-Something’s Christmas in Wales

‘A Twenty-Something Christmas in Wales; is a poem that demonstrates a belief in human kindliness. Here the poet expresses the joy in contemplating arriving home for Christmas. There is a grand feeling of contentment as the poet leaves an oppressive life behind; ‘ It took me back to Barry, to stay nestled neatly / in Mam’s pinny pocket, bought especially for  / the season….’The poet’s joy of reliving childhood Christmas in Wales has a similarity to Dylan Thomas short story about Christmas in Wales.


The poem has an appearance of realism, the poet has created verses that are dramatic; ‘Always one to play the hero, you learned to / resuscitate, took blood from plump valves as you’d / once taken mine. The poem takes the reader through a series of human actions; ‘…..you learned to / resuscitate, took blood from plump valves as you’d  / once taken mine.’. The last two lines bring a good conclusion to the poem; Seven years since that first math class I still / don’t know Pythagoras, but I know you.

Pythagoras Theorem

Pythagoras Theorem is a splendid poem. The word-pictures in this poem are very real and truthful; ‘The brightly lit vowels of your name danced across the room / and squared with mine’ The writer continues the poem by expressing the thoughts and feelings of someone else; I learned that you, in your wholesome teenage solidness, were equal to the /  spliced  / pieces of myself.  The Pythagorean Theorem was known long before Pythagoras.  The words in the poem are expressed in an equation; …trading / algebraic secrets and learning the shapes of one another.’

Welsh Rhapsody

The title comes from a musician and composer of Welsh descent; ‘Edward German. ‘Welsh Rhapsody’ is perhaps the most popular body of songs.  The contributor’s prose poem is expressing in musical language  the writer’s own thoughts, and especially feelings; ‘I wish they’d stop counting. Counting away my time, and counting in another year of aching limbs, cold mornings and constant failure’The beating of the rhythm in the poem is dramatic and genuine . It records the activity of the characters. The dramatic skill of the writer builds up to the New Year;; ‘We’re there. With a crack of champagne and the banging of party poppers, we have reached our destination.’ Throughout the drama the events hold the readers interests.


The writer presents the reader with an admirable story. The background of the family has been made vulnerable to the expenses of modern life resulting in a debt crisis. Modern day crisis of debt, as seen in this story, has not thwarted the spirit of the mother.  They were forced to leave their home.  She offers her children, and her mother, the pleasure of caravan life besides the sea. The writer has a special way of telling a story. The author’s genius is telling a story that captures the reader’s emotions by retaining the central well-ordered theme, as well as, adding buoyancy, and a tenderness. The saving of a dolphin washed up on the beach by the two members of the family, Ianto, and Chelle  grasps the reader’s sentiments; ‘I looked back towards the water, and saw a fin puckering the surface, far out. It disappeared again so quickly that I might have imagined it’ An excellent story. Writing about the dolphin is beautiful. The story has sensitive and realistic characterisation

All the work of this contributor should be published.

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