A longlist of 12 books has today (20 January) been announced for the prestigious International Dylan Thomas Prize, sponsored by Swansea University.
The list includes works by four American authors, a Nigerian novelist, Manchester-based poet Andrew McMillan, Irish author Lisa McInerney, and Welsh short story writer, Thomas Morris.
Two of the books, The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, and The Year of the Runaways by Sanjeev Sahota, were shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.
Now in its tenth year, the £30,000 Prize is awarded to the best eligible published literary work in English, written by an author aged 39 or under. It is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers, aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence across all genres, and is open to poetry, novels, short stories and drama.
Dylan Thomas, the quintessential adolescent writer, was ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.
Distinguished novelists, poets, a historian and a theatre and film director make up the judging panel for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize.
Phyllida Lloyd CBE: award-winning British director of stage and screen, including Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady.
Professor Owen Sheers: novelist, poet, and playwright; Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.
Kamila Shamsie: author of six novels, including Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction).
Sarah Hall; author of five novels and a short story collection; winner of the Portico Prize for Fiction and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
Professor Kurt Heinzelman: poet, translator and scholar; professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Professor Dai Smith (chair of panel): historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture; Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University.
Dai Smith, chair of the judging panel, said: "Wow! The longlist exceeds all expectation in its range of genres and the breathtaking quality of the writing. At this stage the only certainty now is that the Judges will end up with an exceptionally strong short list of six stunningly gifted authors.”
Peter Stead, founder and president of the Prize, said: “The International Dylan Thomas Prize was set up to secure a Welsh link with the great global phenomenon of contemporary English writing and from the outset it attracted entries from every continent. We have been delighted to reward such talented writers and to welcome them into our schools and colleges. Now sponsored by Swansea University, the Prize is still very much ensuring, as with all our research and instruction, that the standards set are truly international. This is going to be a memorable year and we urge everyone to read these brilliant books.”
The 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize longlist:
Claire-Louise Bennett, Pond (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Garth Risk Hallberg, City on Fire (Jonathan Cape)
Tania James, The Tusk that did the Damage (Harvill Secker [UK]; Alfred A. Knopf [US])
Frances Leviston, Disinformation (Picador)
Lisa McInerney, The Glorious Heresies (John Murray)
Andrew McMillan, Physical (Jonathan Cape)
Thomas Morris, We Don’t Know What We’re Doing (Faber & Faber)
Chigozie Obioma, The Fishermen (ONE, an imprint of Pushkin Press)
Julia Pierpont, Among the Ten Thousand Things (Oneworld)
Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber)
Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
Laura van den Berg, Find Me (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Prize shortlist will be announced in March, and the winner will be unveiled at a gala ceremony in Swansea University’s Great Hall on International Dylan Thomas Day, 14 May 2016.
- Wednesday 20 January 2016 12.19 GMT
- Monday 15 May 2017 09.28 BST
- RIAH, Swansea University