10th Anniversary of Penderyn Music Book Prize Celebrated at The Laugharne Weekend in West Wales

JonAwards, Media, National Press, Penderyn Prize

The prestigious Penderyn Music Book Prize, celebrating the best music books published each year, marks an exciting milestone as it reaches its 10th anniversary in 2024. The award winner will be unveiled on Sunday, March 17th at the The Laugharne Weekend in the literary town of Laugharne, West Wales, where the famed poet, Dylan Thomas, once lived and worked.

Launched in 2015 as the first music book prize in the UK, the Penderyn has quickly become one of the most coveted awards for authors writing about music. Over the past decade, it has honoured exceptional works spanning all genres, from rock to folk to hip-hop and everything in between.

“Good stories, music and the finest single malt whisky go hand-in-hand,” said Stephen Davies, CEO of Penderyn Distillery, the award’s sponsor. “We at Penderyn are immensely proud to have supported this exciting prize for the past 10 years, shining a light on the great writing that explores the music we all love.”

Each year, a panel of respected judges selects the Penderyn winner from a shortlist of finalists. 

The 2024 judging panel is comprised of leading music journalists Miranda Sawyer, Pete Paphides and Jo Kendall, along with legendary figures like Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis, avant-garde musician Jah Wobble, and Richard Boon, who founded the iconic indie punk label that originally signed the Buzzcocks.

“It was quite an oddity that there was no major prize celebrating the best music books until the Penderyn launched a decade ago,” said Richard Thomas, organiser of the Laugharne Weekend festival. “Publishers, booksellers and authors alike immediately saw the value of such an award, and writers have produced a wealth of terrific, insightful books year after year as a result.”

Previous Penderyn winners have included acclaimed authors like Bob Stanley for ‘Let’s Do It’ (2023), Darryl W. Bullock for ‘The Velvet Mafia’ (2022), Pete Paphides for ‘Broken Greek’ (2021), and Mark Lewisohn for his exhaustive volume on the Beatles’ early years, ‘Tune In’ (2015).

“I am still shell-shocked after winning the 8th Penderyn Music Book prize for ‘The Velvet Mafia,'” recalled Bullock. “When the longlist was announced I was hugely flattered, and the shortlist put me in incredible company, but I did not for a moment entertain the idea that I might actually win! The kind words and support have stayed with me.”

In addition to the Penderyn Prize winner announcement, the Laugharne Weekend celebrates the region’s rich literary heritage with live music, readings, workshops and more. The charming town of Laugharne, where Thomas penned some of his most famous works, provides the perfect backdrop.

“As we all love our music at the distillery, we are delighted to sponsor this exciting prize that has become such a beloved tradition,” added Davies. “We look forward to raising a dram to the latest worthy winner.”

The Penderyn Distillery, headquartered in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits that are available in over 50 countries worldwide. They also have distilleries in Swansea and Llandudno. More information can be found at www.penderynprize.com and www.penderyn.wales.