CAWCS announces recipients of two University literary awards

Posted on 12 August 2016
The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Vernam Hull Memorial Prize, and the 2015 Sir Ellis Griffith Memorial Prize. Administered by the Centre, both awards recognise and highlight work which is judged to be of the highest standard of Welsh research-based publication.

Awarded for a completed work dealing with Welsh Prose before 1700, or to enable research or study to be undertaken in that field, the Vernam Hull Memorial Prize and £1,000 prize money has been awarded to Professor Ceri Davies, Emeritus Professor of Classics at Swansea University, for the publication John Prise. Historiae Britannicae Defensio / A Defence of the British History (PIMS, 2015).

A graduate in Classics of both the University of Wales and the University of Oxford, Professor Davies has written extensively, in English and Welsh, on the reception of Greek and Latin literature in Wales and especially on Welsh writers of Latin in the 16th and 17th centuries.

An influential lawyer and administrator during the reigns of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI and Queen Mary I, Sir John Prise’s Historia Britannicae Defensio, published posthumously in 1573, is one of the key texts of the 16thcentury. Drawing on the two surviving manuscript witnesses as well as the original printed text, this meticulous edition and translation by Professor Davies makes the Defensio easily accessible to modern readers for the first time.

The Sir Ellis Griffiths Memorial Prize has been awarded to Dr A. Cynfael Lake. The prize, totalling £250, is awarded to a person who has, in the judges’ opinion, produced the best work in Welsh on authors writing in Welsh or their work, or on Welsh artists or craftsmen, or their respective work.

Dr Lake received the award for the publication Gwaith Hywel Dafi I a II (Y Ganolfan, 2015), an edition of the poetry of Hywel Dafi, published as part of the Centre’s series, Beirdd yr Uchelwyr (The Poets of the Nobility). Despite being one of the most prolific poets of the 15th century, a 'Golden Age' in the history of Welsh literature, his work has not previously been edited and published.  This new publication, therefore, fills an obvious gap and gives due attention to an important poet who has so far been largely overlooked.

Dr Lake is a reader at the Department of Welsh, Academi Hywel Teifi at Swansea University.  He is an expert on the work of Huw Jones of Llangwm, one of the best known authors of ballads and interludes in the 18th century, and he has edited the poems of several other poets from the Middle Ages which, like Gwaith Hywel Dafi, are published in the same series.

Congratulations to both recipients.


The Vernam Hull Memorial Prize is provided by an income of a bequest of Ten Thousand Dollars by the late Dr Vernam Edward Nunnemacher Hull (1894-1976), Professor of Celtic Languages at Harvard University. Dr Hull was awarded the degree of DLitt honoris causa by the University of Wales at the International Congress of Celtic Studies in 1963.

The Sir Ellis Griffith 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 who represented the County of Anglesey for many years.

For more information about the prizes, please contact the Centre –


Search News

Select Category

Related Articles