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Friday, January 24, 2020



Shortlist Announcement – 7th April
British Library Event with shortlisted authors, London– 13th May
Winner Announcement and award ceremony, Swansea – 14th May

From left: Jay Bernard, Mary Jean Chan, Meena Kandasamy, Kirsty Logan, Helen Mort, Yelena Moskovich, Téa Obreht, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, Stephen Sexton, Madhuri Vijay, Ocean Vuong and Bryan Washington    @dylanthomprize    #SUDTP20
From Brazil to Hong Kong, India, and Ukraine via Vietnam, this year’s powerful Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist combines a rich, international collection of young , experimental writers who are offering platforms for under-represented voices and exploring pressing social and world themes across identity, culture and power.

Celebrating the Prize’s 15th anniversary, we are thrilled to announce acclaimed Indian feminist writer and novelist, Meena Kandasamy, Hong Kong born LGBTQ+ poet Mary Jean Chan, Ukrainian-born artist and writer Yelena Moskovich, Brazilian-British debut novelist Yara Rodrigues FowlerVietnamese-American novelist Ocean Vuong, and Belgrade-born Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht are among the 12 authors on the longlist for the £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.

The 12 longlisted titles will be judged by a bumper guest panel chaired by Swansea University’s Professor Dai Smith CBE, including annual judge Professor Kurt Heinzelman, the award-winning writer and founder of Jaipur Literature Festival Namita Gokhale, acclaimed writer and 2011 winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize  Lucy Caldwell, the British-Ghanaian writer, poet and critic Bridget Minamore, celebrated writer and presenter of BBC Radio 3: The Verb Ian McMillan and national arts and culture journalist Max Liu.

This year’s longlist comprises seven novels, three poetry collections and two short story collections:

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

Worth £30,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama.

On receiving the 2019 award for his debut novel In Our Mad and Furious CityGuy Gunaratne said: “Dylan Thomas has always meant a lot to me, he’s a writer I’ve always turned to for inspiration. And after winning this prize, my mind just goes to all the other writers, or aspiring writers, who are writing from a place like where I began. A place like Neasden, somewhere I always thought was a nowhere place. But to make art out of the world, the language, the voices I grew up around I always felt was important…”

The shortlist will be announced on the 7th April, followed by a British Library Event, London on the 13th May and Winner’s Ceremony held in Swansea on International Dylan Thomas Day, 14th May.

Key Dates for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

·       Shortlist will be announced 00:00 GMT 7th April 2020
·       British Library London Event Wednesday 13th May 2020
·       Winner will be announced evening of Thursday 14th May 2020  

About the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize: Launched in 2006, the annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence. Worth £30,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama. The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity. One of the most influential, internationally-renowned writers of the mid-twentieth century, the prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.


Jay BernardSurge (Chatto & Windus)
Jay Bernard is the author of the pamphlets Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (Tall Lighthouse, 2008), English Breakfast (Math Paper Press, 2013) and The Red and Yellow Nothing (Ink Sweat & Tears Press, 2016), which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2017. A film programmer at BFI Flare and an archivist at Statewatch, they also participated in ‘The Complete Works II’ project in 2014 and in which they were mentored by Kei Miller. Jay was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2005 and a winner of SLAMbassadors UK spoken word championship. In 2019 Jay was selected by Jackie Kay as one of Britain's ten best BAME writers for the British Council and National Centre for Writing's International Literature Showcase. Their poems have been collected in Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009), The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt, 2011), Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe, 2014) and Out of Bounds: British Black & Asian Poets (Bloodaxe, 2014).

Mary Jean Chan, Flèche (Faber & Faber)
Mary Jean Chan is a London-based poet, lecturer and editor from Hong Kong. Her debut poetry collection, Flèche (Faber & Faber), is the winner of the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry. Chan has twice been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and is the recipient of a 2019 Eric Gregory Award and the 2018 Poetry Society Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Chan currently lectures in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. Follow her on Twitter @maryjean_chan

Meena Kandasamy, Exquisite Cadavers (Atlantic Books)
Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer, translator and activist who was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms. Militancy (2010), and the critically acclaimed novel, Gypsy Goddess. Her second novel, When I Hit You, was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for fiction 2018. She currently lives in East London. Follow her on Twitter @meenakandasamy

Kirsty Logan, Things we say in the Dark (Harvell Secker, Vintage)
Kirsty Logan is the author of the novels The Gracekeepers and The Gloaming, the short story collections A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, the flash fiction chapbook The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, and the short memoir The Old Asylum in the Woods at the Edge of the Town Where I Grew Up. Her books have won the LAMBDA Literary Award, the Polari First Book Prize, the Saboteur Award, the Scott Prize and the Gavin Wallace Fellowship, and been selected for the Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club. In 2019 she was selected as one of the ten most outstanding LGBTQ British writers for the International Literature Showcase. Her short fiction and poetry have been translated into Japanese and Spanish, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog. Follow her on Twitter @kirstylogan

Helen Mort, Black Car Burning (Chatto & Windus)
Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985 and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a ‘Next Generation Poet’, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Helen has been the Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the RSL’s 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield. Black Car Burning is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @HelenMort

Yelena Moskovich, Virtuoso (Serpent’s Tail)
Yelena Moskovich was born in the former USSR and emigrated to Wisconsin with her family as Jewish refugees in 1991. She studied theatre at Emerson College, Boston, and in France at the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre and Université Paris 8. Her plays and performances have been produced in the US, Canada, France, and Sweden. Her first novel The Natashas was published by Serpent's Tail in 2016. She has also written for New StatesmanParis Review and 3:AM Magazine, and in French for Mixt(e) Magazine, won the 2017 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize in 2017 and was a curator for the 2018 Los Angeles Queer Biennial. She lives in Paris. Follow her on Twitter @yelenamoskovich

Téa ObrehtInland  (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Téa Obreht is the author of The Tiger’s Wife, winner of the Orange Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award, and Inland. She was born in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. She currently lives in New York City. Follow her on Instagram @teaobreht

Yara Rodrigues FowlerStubborn Archivist  (Fleet)
Yara Rodrigues Fowler is a novelist from South London. She is also a trustee of Latin American Women’s Aid, an organisation that runs the only two refuges in Europe for and by Latin American women. Stubborn Archivist is Yara’s first novel; she is currently writing her second. Follow her on Twitter @yazzarf

Stephen Sexton, If All the World and Love were Young  (Penguin Random House)
Stephen Sexton lives in Belfast where he teaches at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. His first book, If All the World and Love Were Young, is forthcoming from Penguin. Follow him on Twitter @ssexton02

Madhuri Vijay, The Far Field (Atlantic Books)
Madhuri Vijay was born and raised in Bangalore. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in Best American Non-Required Reading, Narrative Magazine, and Elle India, among other publications. The Far Field is her first book. She currently lives in Hawaii.

Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Jonathan Cape, Vintage)
Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His writings have also been featured in The AtlanticHarper'sThe NationNew RepublicThe New Yorker, and The New York Times. In 2019 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor of English at UMass-Amherst. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is his first novel. Follow him on Twitter @OceanVuong

Bryan Washington, Lot (Atlantic Books)
Bryan Washington has written for the New York Times, the New York Times MagazineNew York MagazineBuzzFeedThe Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, GQ, FADER, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @BryWashing

Belfast-born Lucy Caldwell was shortlisted for the inaugural Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006 for her debut novel, Where They Were Missed, and won the award in 2011 for her second novel, The Meeting Point.  She has since written a third novel, several stage plays and radio dramas and, most recently, two collections of short stories, Multitudes (2016) and Intimacies, forthcoming with Faber in June, as well as editing the critically-acclaimed anthology Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (2019).  She was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  She tweets at @beingvarious.

Namita Gokhale is an award-winning writer, publisher and festival director. She is the author of eighteen books, including ten works of fiction. Her latest novel, Jaipur Journals, will be released in January 2020. Gokhale is a founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and of Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Literature Festival. She is also one of the founder directors of Yatra Books, a publishing house specialised in translation. Follow her on Twitter @NamitaGokhale_

Bridget Minamore is a British-Ghanaian writer, poet, critic, and dramaturg from south-east London. As a journalist, she is a contributor to The Guardian. She was chosen as one of Speaking Volumes’ 40 Stars of Black British Literature, has read her work internationally, and is the co-lead tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Titanic (Out-Spoken Press), Bridget’s debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, was published in May 2016. She is currently working on her first novel, an extract of which was published in anthology New Daughters of Africa (Myriad) in 2019. She tweets @bridgetminamore

Ian McMillan is a writer and broadcaster who presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3 every Friday night. He's written poems, plays, a verse autobiography Talking Myself Home and a voyage round Yorkshire in Neither Nowt Nor Summat. He watches Darfield and Yorkshire Cricket Clubs and the only time he played cricket, at Low Valley Juniors in 1963, Mrs Hudson told him to take his balaclava off or she'd make him wear his mother's Rainmate. Ian’s latest collection is To Fold The Evening Star - New and Selected Poems (Carcanet). Ian was recently awarded The Freedom of Barnsley .

Ian is poet-in-residence for The Academy of Urbanism, Barnsley FC and now Barnsley Poet Laureate. As well as presenting The Verb every week, he’s a regular on BBC Breakfast, Coast, CountryfilePointless Celebrities, Pick of the Week, Last Word and BBC Proms Plus. He’s been a castaway on Desert Island Discs. Previously, he was resident poet for English National Opera, UK Trade & InvestmentYorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet. He also narrates the stories of The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes (More4).

Now, he’s writing a libretto, The Tin Soldier, with Jonathan Dove for Leeds Festival Chorus, then a new show for Mikron Theatre’s 50th anniversary year of touring in 2021 and a libretto for a Yorkshire Barber of Seville with Freedom Studios. Cats make him sneeze. @IMcMillan

Max Liu grew up in Cornwall in a community of artists and writers. He's written about arts, culture and society for the i, the Financial Times and the Guardian. He reviews books and interviews authors for newspapers and has been a guest on Radio Four’s Open Book. In 2019, he interviewed, among others, Elif Shafak, Isabel Allende, Jhumpa Lahiri and wrote elsewhere about subjects including men’s responses to the #MeToo movement and the gendered nature of housework. His essay about losing friends in his thirties went viral and sparked debates about the nature of male friendship. He lives in London where he regularly chairs literary events. Follow him on Twitter @maxjliu

Professor Dai Smith CBE is a distinguished historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture. As a Broadcaster he has won numerous awards for arts and historical documentaries and from 1992 to 2000 was Head of Programmes at BBC Wales. He was Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan from 2001 until 2005 and is currently the Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. He was Chair of the Arts Council of Wales from 2006 until 2016. In 2013, he published a novel Dream On and in 2014 edited definitive anthologies of Welsh short stories, Story I & II, for the Library of Wales. In 2020 he published the novel, The Crossing, as the final part of his projected fictional trilogy of work. Professor Smith is Chair of the Judging Panel. 

Professor Kurt Heinzelman is a poet, translator, and scholar. His most recent book of poems is Whatever You May Say and he has translated Demarcations, a collection of poems by Jean Follain. He has been the Executive Curator at the Harry Ransom Centre and the Director of Education at the Blanton Museum of Art. A Professor of English at the University of Texas-Austin specializing in Poetry and Poetics and a teacher in the Michener Centre for Writers, he is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Texas Studies in Literature and Language (TSLL), and the co-founder and long-time Advisory Editor of Bat City Review

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