Swansea graduate makes PEN International/New Voices Award longlist

Swansea BA and MA Creative Writing graduate Rebecca John, who has already commanded public attention this year with her Sunday Times short story listing, has gained world-wide recognition for Wales through the international writers' organisation PEN.

Graduate Centre blocks thin

The 2015 PEN International/New Voices Award longlist has been announced – and it includes Wales PEN Cymru’s nominee Rebecca F John, the only UK writer to have made the longlist.

The PEN International/New Voices Award provides a space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work, and encourages new writing from “diverse linguistic regions and communities”.

The award is open to unpublished writers aged 18-30, who are nominated by their local PEN Centre. This year’s judges are Zakariya Amataya, Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, Edwige-Renée Dro, Drago JanĨar, Yann Martel and Olga Tokarczuk. The full list is included below:

 The 2015 PEN International/New Voices Award longlist:

“Likkewaan” by Carien Smith (PEN Afrikaans)
“Under the Jacaranda Tree” by Nozizwe Dube (PEN Flanders)
‘Nichts kurz vor der Rue Saint-Blaise” by Lea Sauer (German PEN)
“Ailleurs” by Sophie Prévost (PEN Québec)
“Varshava” by Ana Dontsu (PEN Romania)
“Moon Dog” by Rebecca F John (Wales PEN Cymru)

Carmarthenshire-born Rebecca, has already experienced great success this year, following her shortlisting for the Sunday Times EFG Short story award, where she appeared alongside the likes of Yiyun Li and Madeleine Thien. This also is encouraging news for the newly-founded Wales PEN Cymru, in their first year as an official centre. Co-chair of PEN Cymru, Fflur Dafydd, said: “I am delighted to see Wales represented on the international stage by such a gifted young writer. Wales PEN Cymru prides itself on enabling Welsh writers to discover and develop an international voice, and Rebecca has a strong, unique writing style, which undoubtedly takes Wales to the world. We look forward to working with her and supporting her career.”  

Rebecca herself added:  “I am thrilled to be representing Wales PEN Cymru in this worthy competition, and hope that I can make the shortlist in order to better play my own small part in highlighting the values PEN works to promote and defend; values which are integral to us as writers and as human beings.”

The shortlist of three will be announced in a few weeks, and the award will be presented on October 14 during the 81st PEN International Congress in Québec, Canada.

The 2014 PEN International/New Voices Award winner was Marina Babanskaya (St Petersburg PEN Chapter), while Masande Ntshanga won the 2013 edition, which was the start of a very promising writing career for the young South African.