Dylan Thomas Shortlist of Authors 39 or Younger: UK, US, Australia, Sri Lanka

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The Dylan Thomas Prize is unusual for its flexibility. The shortlist includes a book of poetry, two books of short stories, plus novels—two of them debuts.

Clockwise from upper left, the shortlisted writers for this year’s International Dylan Thomas Prize are Fiona McFarlane; Callan Wink; Alys Conran; Luke Kennard; Sarah Perry; and Anuk Arudpragasam. Images: Four Colman Getty

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Sheer Quality, Originality’
The shortlist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize has been released today (March 28), carrying a £30,000 purse for writers under 39.

Designed to commemorate the eponymous favorite son of Swansea, Wales (1914-1953), the prize since 2006 has been produced in partnership with Swansea University and “invokes Dylan Thomas’ memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.”

Independent publishers dominate this year, being responsible for five of the six titles on the shortlist.

And the list is a far-flung example of internationalism, with authors from SriLanka, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States.

The 2017 International Dylan Thomas Shortlist
  • The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam – Sri Lanka (Granta)
  • Pigeon by Alys Conran – UK (Parthian)
  • Cain by Luke Kennard – UK (Penned in the Margins)
  • The High Places by Fiona McFarlane – Australia (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – UK (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Dog Run Moon: Stories by Callan Wink – US (Granta)

”This Dazzling List’

In a statement of rationale, the jury’s chair, Swansea Prof. Dai Smith is quoted in a prepared statement, saying, “From a deeply impressive longlist of 12 works of literature from across the globe, the judges, after a lengthy discussion, decided on six works whose sheer quality, originality and dazzle factor stood out.

Dai Smith, CBE

“We have a novella from Sri Lanka, two collections of short stories, one from Australia and the other from the USA, a book of poetry and a novel from English authors, and a debut novel from Wales.

“They’re all winners in themselves, but the eventual overall winner, to be announced in Swansea on May 10, will again ensure, coming from this dazzling list, that the International Dylan Thomas Prize, in partnership with Swansea University, will amaze and delight readers around the world.”

Smith is accompanied by fellow judges poet and scholar, Prof. Kurt Heinzelman; Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama, UK for the BBC; novelist and Professor Sarah Moss; and author Prajwal Parajuly. Work eligible for this year’s award was published in calendar year 2016.

The May 10 date on which the winner will be announced precedes International Dylan Thomas Day on May 14. Last year’s winner was Max Porter for Grief Is the Thing With Feathers.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. Prior to that he was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, a channel at The Bookseller focused on digital publishing. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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