Roland Mathias Poetry PrizeThe Roland Mathias Prize for poetry was first awarded in 2005 under the auspices of the Brecknock Society and Museum Friends. It was established to commemorate the life and work of the poet and literary critic, Roland Mathias, who lived in Brecon for nearly 40 years. The Prize, for Welsh poetry in the English language, was latterly awarded as part of the Wales Book of the Year run by Literature Wales. But the fund, donated for the Prize by Roland Mathias, has sadly now run its course.
The last winning poet, who won the award at a ceremony in Aberystwyth in July 2020, was Albhe Darcy for her collection of poetry Insistence (Bloodaxe Books). She also won the overall Wales Book of the Year, the fourth time a poet has won the overall prize. The three other double winners were Rhian Edwards in 2013, Owen Sheers in 2014 and Robert Minhinnick in 2018. The Roland Mathias Prize has helped over the years to give greater prominence to poetry in Wales.
Each year, the winning poets gave a presentation of their work to audiences in Brecon. These were gatherings organised by the Brecknock Society and Museum Friends and were well received. To mark the contribution of Roland Mathias to the literature of Wales, a talk was given in February 2020 by Professor Jane Aaron about his life and work. A selection of the poems of Roland Mathias was read by the well-known Welsh poet, Paul Henry.