By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Hugely Different in Style, Subject, and Genre’Earlier this month, the Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year reported its winner, the author of Oxblood (Bloomsbury Publishing).
As we’ve written in the past, the main competition to that honor for writers 35 and younger is Swansea University’s £20,000 (US$24,663) Dylan Thomas Prize—a 17-year-old program for writers who are 39 or younger, because its namesake, Dylan Thomas, died at age 39. The award program holds its competitive traction, of course, not only in its relative age group but also in its offer of twice the purse of the Young Writer of the Year.
And today (March 28), we have the shortlist for the 2023 cycle of the Dylan Thomas Prize, released late last week. This year’s award ceremony and winner announcement is set for May 11.
The 2023 jury comprises:
- Di Speirs (jury chair), books editor with BBC Audio
- Jon Gower, a former BBC Wales arts and media correspondent with more than 40 books out
- The author Maggie Shipstead, a Dylan Thomas Prize winner in 2012 for Seating Arrangements
- Rachel Long, a shortlistee with the Young Writer of the Year
- Prajwal Parajuly, a former shortlistee with the Dylan Thomas Prize
The 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist
- Limberlost by Robbie Arnott (Atlantic Books), novel (Australia)
- Seven Steeples by Sara Baume (Tramp Press), novel (Ireland)
- God’s Children Are Little Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu (Hachette), short story collection (Nigeria)
- I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel (Rough Trade Books), novel (United Kingdom)
- Send Nudes by Saba Sams (Bloomsbury Publishing), short story collection (United Kingdom)
- Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire (Penguin Random House), poetry collection (Somalia and United Kingdom)
In a prepared comment, Speirs, the jury chair, is quoted, saying, “There’s brilliance and beauty in the six books shortlisted for this year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.
“All six—while hugely different in style, subject, and genre, and [settings] ranging from rural Tasmania and the wild Irish coast to the sharply contemporary in Nigeria and the United Kingdom—exemplify not only the talent and excitingly fresh, often startling, writing we were seeking, but [also] draw the reader in and on.
“There’s wit and wisdom, pleasure and pain, acute observation of the natural world and of human relationships and above all, so much to savor.
“That we all agreed so clearly on our shortlist is testament to the strength of this potent mix of poetry, short stories and novels and to the power of the six writers.”
The Dylan Thomas Prize has an unusually wide purview of fiction in various formats, accepting nominations in novels, short stories, poetry, and playwrighting.