Four debut authors make up the female dominant shortlist of six for the 10th edition of the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, celebrating the brightest young writers in the world. Worth £30,000, it is the world’s largest literary prize for young writers aged 39 or under, open to writers from all nations, writing in English.
This year’s works approach themes of sexual violence, toxic relationships, masculinity and racial divisions – relevant now more than ever across the world. Just as Dylan Thomas’ universal poetry captured the grief and loss of innocence in post-war Britain, the prize showcases the breadth and diversity of literature that captures the political zeitgeist of today. The winner will be announced on 10th May.
The 2018 Shortlist for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize
‘The shortlist of the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is an amazing showcase of young writing talent from across the globe. There are two startling and searing novels from contemporary America; two other novels which engage in a forensic examination of love and loathing, from England and Ireland; an inventively original collection of short stories from the USA and a challenging, poised work of poetry which takes us to the core of a divided Britain. The judges will have a difficult job over the next two months to find a winner from what is already a list of winners.’ – Professor Dai Smith CBE of Swansea University, chair of the judges
Zambian-born poet Kayo Chingonyi (31)
This debut collection of poetry Kumakanda explores the rites of passage boys go through to become men, the intersection of masculinity and race and what it means to be British and not British, all at once.
Cuban-American short-story writer Carmen Maria Machado’s (31)
Her debut short story collection Her Body & Other Parties explores the eroticism, violence and emotion of the female experience through a potent mix of science fiction, ghost stories and fairytales.
Six-time British novelist Gwendoline Riley (39)
Riley has been shortlisted for First Love, a compelling tale of toxic love and poisonous partnerships which has been shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Goldsmiths Prize.
Irish debut novelist and Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Sally Rooney (27)
Rooney has been called the “Salinger for the Snapchat generation” and her runaway success Conversations with Friends.
Debut American novelist Emily Ruskovich (31)
Ruskowich is shortlisted for her thriller hit Idaho, which tells the story of a mother suddenly killing her six-year-old daughter.
American thriller author Gabriel Tallent (30)
This debut novel My Absolute Darling was called ‘the year’s must-read novel’ by The Times and ‘a masterpiece’ by Stephen King.
The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas who died at just 39 years old as one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Dylan captured the attention of the literary world at just 20 years old with his poem Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines, and had already reached international acclaim by the time his most famous work Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night was published.