Nigerian Writer Arinze Ifeakandu Wins Wales’ Dylan Thomas Prize

In News by Porter Anderson

In the 70th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ death, the Nigerian writer Arinze Ifeakandu wins the Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut short story collection.

In Swansea, a view from the Meridian Tower. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Jax 10289

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

An ‘Exhilarating Collection of Nine Stories’
At a ceremony in the poet’s hometown of Swansea, Wales’ Dylan Thomas Prize has named the Nigerian short-story writer Arine Ifeakandu its winner. Ifeakandu’s debut short story collection God’s Children Are Little Broken Things (Hachette) has previously won the UK’s Republic of Consciousness Prize.

Swansea University’s £20,000 (US$25,018) Dylan Thomas Prize is a 17-year-old program for writers who are 39 or younger, because its namesake, Dylan Thomas, died at age 39 in November of 1953.

Sunday (May 14) marks this year’s observation of the annual International Dylan Thomas Day, a commemorative program led by Literature Wales and financed by the Welsh government in coordination with the Thomas family and Dylan Thomas estate. May 14 was chosen because it’s the date in 1953 when Under Milk Wood was given its first onstage reading, at New York City’s 92nd Street Y cultural center.

Arinze Ifeakandu. Image: Bec Stupak Diop

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

Speirs, the jury chair, is quoted in this evening’s announcement, saying, “We were unanimous in our praise and admiration for this exhilarating collection of nine stories.

“Arinze Ifeakandu’s debut shines with maturity, the writing bold, refreshing, and exacting but never afraid to linger and to allow characters and situations to develop and change, so that the longer stories are almost novels in themselves.

“A kaleidoscopic reflection of queer life and love in Nigeria, the constraints, the dangers, and the humanity, this is a collection that we wanted to press into many readers’ hands around the world and which left us excited to know what Arinze Ifeakandu will write next.”

The 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist

Last year’s winner was the American Patricia Lockwood, whose No One Is Talking About This was published by Bloomsbury and shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

The Dylan Thomas Prize has an unusually wide purview of fiction in various formats, accepting nominations in novels, short stories, poetry, and playwrighting.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is here. And more on world literary and publishing 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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.