Lee Byrne was today announced as an ambassador for the new Reader electronic book reader from Sony, and for a new category in this year's Dylan Thomas Prize - the Sony Reader Award for Unpublished Writers.
Byrne was invited to become an ambassador when Prize organisers became aware of the rugby star’s passion for literature - he is known to read a book in the changing room before every match in order to mentally prepare for the game.
The new Sony Reader Award category has been created as part of the 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize, specifically to support unpublished British novel writers under the age of 30, with the winner receiving £5,000 and publication of their work in electronic e-book format before Christmas. The judging panel for the award is chaired by acclaimed journalist and novelist Alison Pearson and also includes Welsh singer Cerys Matthews.
Lee Byrne said:
“I was delighted when Sony asked me to be an ambassador for the Sony Reader Award. All the boys prepare for matches in different ways – some listen to music, some have a laugh with the other players, as some people are aware, I always take a book with me to settle my nerves. I used to get really anxious before games, over thinking in the build-up to the match, and I just wouldn’t have any energy left because I would wind myself up. Reading before a game has really helped me settle my nerves and distract me from using up my energy in an unproductive way."
Omar Gurnah, Reader category marketing manager for Sony, said:
“Lee is a perfect fit as an ambassador for the Sony Reader Award for Unpublished Writers. He is young, enthusiastic about reading and he’s already an icon to many young people. People choose to read for a number of different reasons, some for pleasure, some for knowledge, and in Lee’s case he reads to settle himself mentally before a physically exhausting challenge.”
Peter Stead, the Dylan Thomas Prize founder and judge, said:
“The Sony Reader award is a very exciting partnership for us at the Dylan Thomas Prize, representing a landmark for aspiring writers, and I’m sure Lee’s involvement will provide a boost to both the Sony Reader Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize.”
The shortlisted authors of the Sony Reader Award for Unpublished Writers will be announced at the end of October, with the winner announced at the Dylan Thomas Prize Award Ceremony on 1st December.