Wales’ International Dylan Thomas Prize Announces Diverse Shortlist

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The 2019 Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist includes a Zimbabwean, a British-Sri Lankan and an American Ghanaian, and it recognizes writers under 39 years old.

Image:  Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize

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

The Winner Is To Be Named May 16
The 2019 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize announced Tuesday (April 2) its most diverse shortlist yet with breakout debut authors topping the list. Those include the American-Ghanaian Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, the British-Sri-Lankan author Guy Gunaratne, and the Zimbabwe-born writer Novuyo Rosa Tshuma in work that takes on issues of race, immigration and post-colonial history.

Also on the shortlist are Louisa Hall with a kaleidoscopic novel on Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb; Zoe Gilbert and her tale of the fictional village of Neverness; and Sarah Perry with her latest bestseller Melmoth.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall the longlist announced at the end of January.  The prize honors writers under 39 years of age–the age at which the program’s eponymous poet died–and awards a £30,000 purse to its winner ((US$38,347).

This year’s jury, led once more by Swansea University professor Dai Smith, includes Kurt Heinzelman, Di Speirs, and Kit de Waal.

In a prepared statement, Smith is quoted, saying that the shortlisters “are linked by a passion for individual sensibilities against a backdrop of history; sometimes violent, always life-changing.

“No doubt these six writers will go on to make their distinctive voices heard, contributing to that timeless canon of literature that entrances, challenges and provokes.”

The 2019 Swansea Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

The 6 shortlisted books comprise five novels and one collection of short stories.

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, US; Riverrun, UK)
  • Zoe Gilbert, Folk (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City (Headline/Tinder Press)
  • Louisa Hall, Trinity (Ecco)
  • Sarah Perry, Melmoth (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, House of Stone (Atlantic Books)

The winner will be announced on Thursday May 16 at Swansea University’s Great Hall, following International Dylan Thomas Day on May 14.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is here. And more on literary awards is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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