South Asian voices on Dylan Thomas Prize longlist again

Namita Gokhale to chair this year’s Dylan Thomas Prize

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Dylan Thomas Prize
The 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize longlist. Photo Swansea University

Swansea University revealed the longlist for the coveted Dylan Thomas Prize on 3 February 2022. The GBP 20,000 (approximately Rs 20 lakh) cash prize is considered one of the greatest literary honors globally. The Dylan Thomas Prize is open to literary works in the English language across the world by young authors below 40 years of age. The prize is open to literary excellence in a wide spectrum of formats ranging from fiction books to screenplays, drama, poetry, and short stories.

The Dylan Thomas Prize was introduced in 2006 with the aim to encourage raw creative talent internationally. Titled after the Swansea-born poet and author, Dylan Thomas, the award celebrates his literary genius. Thomas, considered one of the great poetic forces of the twentieth century, started his literary career spanning 39 years at a young age. Swansea University is the main sponsor behind the prize that aims to nurture literary talent from across the globe. Initially awarded biennially, the Prize became an annual feature in 2010.

The Dylan Thomas Prize longlist includes several South Asian voices this year. This is the second time that the honor has acknowledged the arc of South Asian literature, the first being 2020 for Madhuri Vijay’s work The Far Field and Exquisite Cadavers by Meera Kandasamy, both Indian authors.

The 2022 longlist also includes Sri Lankan Tamil writer Anuk Arudpragasam, for his work A Passage North depicting the Sri Lankan civil war. Arudpragasam also made it on to the Booker Prize 2021 shortlist. Another Booker Prize shortlisted book in the Dylan Thomas Prize list is the debut novel No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood.

Also in this year’s list line is Indian born writer Nidhi Zak for her poetry compilation Auguries of a Minor God. Trinidad and Tobago based Desiree Bailey’s poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane based on the discovery of her cultural identity is in the shortlist too. 

The judges panel of the 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize will be chaired by acclaimed novelist and co-founder as well as co-director of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale. Other judges include Nigerian short story writer Irenosen Okojie, British author Alan Bilton, 2021 Forward Poetry Prize winning poet and writer Luke Kennard, 2006 Dylan Thomas Prize winning author Rachel Trezise and 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize winning author Maggie Shipstead.

The 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize longlist comprises two poetry compilations, two short story collections, and eight fiction works, as under:

  • Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan, Jonathan Cape
  • A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, Granta
  • Auguries of a Minor God by Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Faber
  • Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor, Daunt Books Publishing
  • Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley, John Murray Press
  • Keeping the House And Other Stories by Tice Cin
  • Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W Moniz, Atlantic Books
  • No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, Bloomsbury Circus
  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson, Viking/Penguin General
  • Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi, Faber
  • The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris, Tinder Press/Headline
  • What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree Bailey, Yale University Press

Luster by Raven Leilani was the 2021 winner of the prize, while Lot by Bryan Washington was selected in 2020. The short story collection Fresh Apples by 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize judge Rachel Trezise won the award in 2006 and debut novel Seating Arrangements by 2022 judge Maggie Shipstead was rewarded with the prize in 2012.

The shortlist for the 2022 Dylan Thomas Prize will be released on 31 March, followed by the final winner announcement on 12 May, just two days prior to the International Dylan Thomas Day on 14 May.

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