On the blog today, I am SO excited to help share news of the shortlist for the 10th Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize! The shortlisted authors have written some of my absolute favourite books. It’s a huge honour for me to be involved in spreading the news for today’s announcement!
And so without further ado, here they are …
DEBUTS SHINE IN FEMALE-LED SHORTLIST FOR
WORLD’S BIGGEST PRIZE FOR YOUNG WRITERS
10th Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist announced
Top row L-R: , Kayo Chingonyi, Carmen Maria Machado, Gwendoline Riley
Bottom L-R: Sally Rooney, Emily Ruskovich, Gabriel Tallent,
GWENDOLINE RILEY (UK)
SALLY ROONEY (IRELAND)
EMILY RUSKOVICH (USA)
GABRIEL TALLENT (USA)
CARMEN MARIA MACHADO (USA)
KAYO CHINGONYI (ZAMBIA)
Four debut authors make up the female dominant shortlist of six for the 10th edition of the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize which celebrates the brightest young writers in the world. Worth £30,000, it is the world’s largest literary prize for young writers aged 39 or under, open to writers from all nations, writing in English.
2017 sparked this century’s biggest gender equality movement, and this year’s female-led international shortlist brings to the fore crucial themes of sexual violence, toxic relationships, masculinity and racial divisions, that are relevant across the world, not just the UK. Just as Dylan Thomas’ universal poetry captured the grief and loss of innocence in post-war Britain, the prize showcases the breadth and diversity of literature that captures the political zeitgeist of today.
Featured on the shortlist this year are:
- Zambian-born poet Kayo Chingonyi (31) for his debut collection of poetry Kumakanda, which explores the rites of passage boys go through to become men, the intersection of masculinity and race and what it means to be British and not British, all at once.
- Cuban-American short-story writer Carmen Maria Machado’s (31) debut short story collection Her Body & Other Parties explores the eroticism, violence and emotion of the female experience through a potent mix of science fiction, ghost stories and fairytales.
- Six-time British novelist Gwendoline Riley (39) has been shortlisted for First Love, a compelling tale of toxic love and poisonous partnerships which has been shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Goldsmiths Prize.
- Irish debut novelist and Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Sally Rooney (27) has been called the “Salinger for the Snapchat generation” and her runaway success Conversations with Friends.
- Debut American novelist Emily Ruskovich (31) is shortlisted for her thriller hit Idaho, which tells the story of a mother suddenly killing her six-year-old daughter.
- American thriller author Gabriel Tallent (30) has been shortlisted for his debut novel My Absolute Darling, called “the year’s must-read novel” by The Times and ‘a masterpiece’ by Stephen King.
2018 will be the 10th edition of The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and will commemorate 65 years since the death of Wales’ most lauded writer Dylan Thomas. The winner will be announced on 10th May.
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. The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas who died at just 39 years old as one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Dylan captured the attention of the literary world at just 20 years old with his poem Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines, and had already reached international acclaim by the time his most famous work Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night was published. The prize invokes his memory to support the best young writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.
In 2017, Australian writer Fiona McFarlane won The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize for her highly-acclaimed collection of short stores, The High Places.
Professor Dai Smith CBE of Swansea University, chair of the judges said: “The shortlist of the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is an amazing showcase of young writing talent from across the globe. There are two startling and searing novels from contemporary America; two other novels which engage in a forensic examination of love and loathing, from England and Ireland; an inventively original collection of short stories from the USA and a challenging, poised work of poetry which takes us to the core of a divided Britain. The judges will have a difficult job over the next two months to find a winner from what is already a list of winners.”
Chaired by Professor Dai Smith CBE, Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University, and historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture, this year’s judging panel also features: Founder and Director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale; winner of the inaugural International Dylan Thomas Prize novelist and playwright, Rachel Trezise; poet, translator, and scholar, Professor Kurt Heinzelman; and author and Founder of London Short Story Festival, Paul McVeigh.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 10th May at an award ceremony at Swansea University’s Great Hall, in the run up to International Dylan Thomas Day on 14th May commemorating 65 years since Dylan Thomas’ death. The British Library will be hosting a special public event with all the shortlisted author on Tuesday 8th May.
The shortlisted authors will also participate in the DylanED programme, an initiative set up by Swansea University in conjunction with the prize to engage young people with international literature and Wales’ rich cultural history. The shortlist is directly involved in the programme that runs all year round, and authors have previously done workshops with local college students, given readings and talks at local schools, and given masterclasses at the University. Since 2016 Welsh students are invited to review books from the shortlist for the DylanED Book Review Competition and will present their winning reviews at a special winner’s ceremony in front of the shortlisted authors.
Winner’s Announcement: 10th May
International Dylan Thomas Day: 14th May
Shortlisted authors event at the British Library: 8th May (buy tickets here)
ABOUT THE LONGLIST
Kayo Chingonyi (Zambia)
Kumukanda (Vintage – Chatto & Windus)
Kayo was born in Zambia in 1987, and moved to the UK at the age of six. He is the author of two pamphlets, and a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry. In 2012, he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015.
Carmen Maria Machado (USA)
Her Body and Other Parties (Serpent’s Tail / Graywolf Press)
Carmen is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Guernica, Tin House, VICE, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and elsewhere. Her Body and Other Parties was a finalist for the National Book Award and Kirkus Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Michener-Copernicus Foundation, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the CINTAS Foundation, the Speculative Literature Foundation, the University of Iowa and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the Artist in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and lives in Philadelphia with her wife.
Gwendoline Riley (UK)
First Love (Granta)
Gwendoline was born in London in 1979. She is the author of the novels Cold Water (winner of a Betty Trask Award), Sick Notes, Joshua Spassky (winner of the 2008 Somerset Maugham Award, shortlisted for the 2007 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Opposed Positions and First Love, which was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Gordon Burn Prize and the Goldsmith’s Prize.
Sally Rooney (Ireland)
Conversations With Friends (Faber & Faber)
Sally was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from an MA at Trinity College in 2013. Her work has appeared in Granta, The White Review, The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, Kevin Barry’s Stonecutter and The Winter Pages anthology. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for ‘Mr Salary’. Conversations with Friends is her first novel.
Emily Ruskovich (USA)
Idaho (Vintage – Chatto & Windus)
Emily grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, on Hoodoo mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story and the Virginia Quarterly Review. A winner of a 2015 O. Henry Award and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she now teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado, Denver. Idaho is her first novel.
Gabriel Tallent (USA)
My Absolute Darling (4th Estate / Riverhead Books)
Gabriel was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his B.A. from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.
Big thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Midas PR & the Dylan Thomas Prize for including me in this announcement!