Diversity in longlist for young writers prize released on 24 January
From Brazil to Hong Kong, India, and Ukraine via Vietnam, this year’s powerful Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize longlist combines a rich, international collection of young, experimental writers who are offering platforms for under-represented voices and exploring pressing social and world themes across identity, culture and power.
Worth £30,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama.
Celebrating the Prize’s 15th anniversary, the announced longlist includes acclaimed Indian feminist writer and novelist, Meena Kandasamy, Hong Kong born LGBTQ+ poet Mary Jean Chan, Ukrainian-born artist and writer Yelena Moskovich, Brazilian-British debut novelist Yara Rodrigues Fowler, Vietnamese-American novelist Ocean Vuong, and Belgrade-born Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht are among the 12 authors on the longlist for the £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.
The 12 longlisted titles will be judged by a guest panel chaired by Swansea University’s Professor Dai Smith CBE, including annual judge Professor Kurt Heinzelman, the award-winning writer and founder of the Jaipur Literature Festival Namita Gokhale, acclaimed writer and 2011 winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize Lucy Caldwell, the British-Ghanaian writer, poet and critic Bridget Minamore, celebrated writer and presenter of BBC Radio 3: The Verb Ian McMillan and national arts and culture journalist Max Liu.
The shortlist will be announced on the 7th April, followed by a British Library Event in London on the 13th May and the Winner’s Ceremony held in Swansea on International Dylan Thomas Day, 14th May 2020. This year’s longlist comprises seven novels, three poetry collections and two short story collections:
· Surge – Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)
· Flèche – Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber)
· Exquisite Cadavers – Meena Kandasamy (Atlantic Books)
· Things we say in the Dark – Kirsty Logan (Harvell Secker, Vintage)
· Black Car Burning – Helen Mort (Chatto & Windus)
· Virtuoso –Yelena Moskovich (Serpent’s Tail)
· Inland – Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
· Stubborn Archivist – Yara Rodrigues Fowler (Fleet)
· If All the World and Love were Young – Stephen Sexton (Penguin Random House)
· The Far Field – Madhuri Vijay (Atlantic Books)
· On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, Vintage)
· Lot – Bryan Washington (Atlantic Books)
On receiving the 2019 award for his debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City, Guy Gunaratne said: “Dylan Thomas has always meant a lot to me, he’s a writer I’ve always turned to for inspiration. And after winning this prize, my mind just goes to all the other writers, or aspiring writers, who are writing from a place like where I began. A place like Neasden, somewhere I always thought was a nowhere place. But to make art out of the world, the language, the voices I grew up around I always felt was important…”
Of special interest to South Asian and Indian readers are the longlist nominations of Meena Kandasamy for Exquisite Cadavers published by Atlantic Books and Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field also published by Atlantic Books.