Winner of Wales Book of the Year 2021
A pioneering début by an extraordinarily talented young writer, tu ôl i’r awyr (behind the sky) weaves together the stories and psychologies of Deian and Anest, two young adults in contemporary northwest Wales facing the traumas of mental ill health alongside the daily challenges – and joys – of school and family life. Stunningly written in a vernacular infused by dialect, textspeak, and artistic influences, Hunter captures with incisive emotional awareness the experiences of young adulthood, and its awakenings to the power of friendship, to art and music, to love and loss. Whilst the tragedies of mental illness are presented with both rawness and linguistic dexterity – repetitive, destructive phrases intruding on the writing – the book remains fluent, readable, and often funny: it offers the reader that rare and generous gift of shared language for pain so often experienced alone.
Ultimately a novel on the discovery of voice and selfhood, its breadth of ambition and influence refutes categorisation. Though the characters of Deian and Anest are masterfully drawn, the work’s true interest is revealed in what lies behind and beyond individual experience, to that which is revealed by acknowledging shared feeling and experience, by reaching out to find shelter in one another. tu ôl i’r awyr is an exceptional work from an author who having found her wings will no doubt continue to soar, and which conveys with fullness of heart our inner, unspoken lives.
“It is more than a novel – it’s a totally new literary experience which fills your head. Raw, warm, full of hard blows and soft touchers, each page is an emotional experience.”
Manon Steffan Ros
"There are those books sometimes that just stay with you more than others, they change your way of looking at the world. This is one of them.”
"The author has a fresh voice and a very original way of writing, both witty and intense at the same time, and never failing to grab our attention. It all comes together to offer an unique reading experience in Welsh."
Sôn am Lyfra