Wales in India: Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Announced at Jaipur Festival

In News by Porter Anderson

Thanks to the co-direction of the Jaipur Literature Festival by juror Namita Gokhale, the Dylan Thomas Prize is in India for its longlist announcement.

Swansea University’s Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 longlist of 12 authors is announced by the award program’s executive officer Elaine Canning, left, and juror, author, and publisher Namita Gokhale on January 24 at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India. Image: Dylan Thomas Prize

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

More India-Wales Cultural Activity Ahead
In an unusual move for book award program based in Wales, the 15th International Dylan Thomas Prize sponsored by Swansea University has announced its longlist today (January 24) at India’s Jaipur Literature Festival.

To refresh your memory in this year’s furiously paced awards season, the Dylan Thomas program 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$39,135). Devised with unusual range in its potential selection of material, the Dylan Thomas prize can go to poetry, novels, short stories, or drama.

Last year’s winner of the prize was the British-Sri Lankan writer Guy Gunaratne for his debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City (Headline’s Tinder Press, 2018).

Namita Gokhale

The Jaipur connection this year is newly announced juror Namita Gokhale. She’s not only the founding director of translation-specialized Yatra Books but is also a founding co-director of the Jaipur festival and of Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Literature Festival. With a reported 18 books out, her Jaipur Journals is said to be scheduled for a release this year.

The festival producer, Teamwork Arts, has supported the presentation of the longlist at Jaipur in partnership with Swansea and the British Council Wales. And the event has included Elaine Canning, who directs the Dylan Thomas Prize.

She and authors and award directors including Aanchal Malhotra, Hemali Sodhi, Mita Kapur, and Sunny Singh, are participating in a panel discussion on literary prizes moderated by Arunava Sinha in the festival’s annual BookMark program.

Dates in the program this year are:

  • Shortlist announcement: April 7
  • Winner announcement: May 14
Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 Longlist

  • Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus)
  • Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber)
  • Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy (Atlantic Books)
  • Things we say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan (Harvell Secker, Vintage)
  • Black Car Burning by Helen Mort (Chatto & Windus)
  • Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Inland by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler (Fleet)
  • If All the World and Love were Young by Stephen Sexton (Penguin Random House)
  • The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay (Atlantic Books)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, Vintage)
  • Lot by Bryan Washington (Atlantic Books)

As organizers are pointing out, this year’s longlist has a lot of international range, including the Hong Kong-born poet Mary Jean Chan; Yelena Moskovich, who is a native of Ukraine; the Brazilian-British novelist Yara Rodrigues Fowler in her debut; the Vietnamese-American Ocean Vuong with his much-publicized On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous; Téa Obreht, the Belgrade-born author remembered for her 2011 The Tiger’s Wife; and Indian feminist author Meena Kandasamy.

And there is, it turns out, a Wales-India connection that dates to a 2017 and 2018 collaborative program that was tied to the UK India Year of Culture events funded by the British Council and Wales Arts International.

In addition to the Jaipur event today, Dylan Thomas winner Rachel Tresize is to appear with Literature Across Frontiers, an Aberystwyth-based Welsh literature organization for intercultural exchanges, at the Mathrubhumi Festival of letters in Trivandrum, Kerala. That event is supported by Creative Europe, Wales Arts International, and British Council Wales.

In addition, Welsh writers Mab Jones and Tristan Hughes have been invited to deliver events at Brahmamputra Literary Festival in Assam, North East India in February, another event supported by the British Council.

In February, Welsh musician Gareth Bonello and theater director Lisa Lewis are to continue their Khasi-Welsh musical heritage collaboration at several festivals in India, including the Kolkata Book Fair, Brahmaputra Literary Festival, Surajkund Mela, and workshops at the British Council offices in New Delhi and Kolkata. That tour is funded by The University of South Wales and The Leverhulme Trust.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is here. More from us on the Indian market 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 co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. 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.