Aberystwyth PhD student and tutor wins M Wynn Thomas Prize

Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris

06 May 2015

Jamie Harris, a PhD student and tutor at the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University has been awarded the M Wynn Thomas Prize for his essay ‘Iain Sinclair “Born in (South) Wales, 2001”’.

Jamie’s essay won the ‘New Scholars’ category.

The M Wynn Thomas Prize has been awarded annually since 2012 to recognise outstanding scholarship in the study of Welsh writing in English.

The prize is curated by the Association of Welsh Writing in English.

The essay is due to be published in the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English vol.3 (2015).

Jamie’s essay is based on research conducted for his PhD thesis in the Department of English and Creative Writing on contemporary Welsh writing in English since the 1997 devolution referendum.

The judging panel said they were “hard-pushed to arrive at a decision”. They felt that the winner’s work showed exceptional scholarship as well as the willingness to explore new territory.

Jamie was recently awarded a Dissertation Fellowship by the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas, Austin, in order to visit the Iain Sinclair archive and carry out further research.

Jamie said: “I am delighted to receive this award. It is a privilege for my work to be recognised by a panel of judges for whom I have a huge amount of respect.

“My essay, "Iain Sinclair: 'Born in (South) Wales, 2001'", is an attempt to recover Sinclair from a place of relative obscurity in Welsh criticism and place his work within an inherently Welsh context (he was, as my title states, 'born in Wales'). It also takes into consideration Sinclair's idiosyncratic view of London as a Celtic city, and scrutinises the labelling of him variously as an English/Welsh/British author.”

The M Wynn Thomas Prize consists of two awards, for ‘New Scholars’ which was won by Jamie, and the ‘Open’ category, which was won by Dr Heather Williams, Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced and Celtic Studies.

The prizes were awarded at the annual conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English, ‘The Country and the City: Rural and Urban Wales’ held at Gregynog Hall between 27-29 March.