The 2014 Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers, which is sponsored by Swansea University, has been won by Joshua Ferris with To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking).

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Joshua FerrisNow in its ninth year this  is open to any published author in the English language aged 39 and under.

It celebrates the legacy of Swansea poet and writer Dylan Thomas, and the importance of creativity and literary excellence in the contemporary world.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, which was also shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, is a darkly comic novel about the meaning of life, the certainty of death, and the importance of good oral hygiene.

Joshua Ferris is the author of two previous novels:Then We Came to the End, which was nominated for the National Book Award, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and the highly acclaimed The Unnamed. In 2010 Joshua was selected for The New Yorker's '20 Under 40' list of fiction writers. He lives in New York.

Joshua will receive £30,000 and a limited edition bronze cast of Dylan Thomas.

Peter Stead, Founder and President of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, said: “Joshua Ferris’ book, about a New York dentist faced with the frustration of his job, his sexual relationships and his identity is drawn into a wider world in which he discovers the role of electronic media and mysterious religious cults in shaping not only his life, but also his identity. A novel which encapsulates the frustration, energy and humour that goes into the making of New York.”

Peter Florence, Founder of the Hay Festival and Chair of the judging panel said:   “People who can make comedy from human comedy are rare and wonderful. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do and takes a kind of genius to deliver it on the page.”

Professor John Spurr, Head of the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University, which sponsors the prize, said: "Swansea University is deeply proud of our partnership with the Prize.  We have common goals: we aim to nurture talent, to celebrate creativity, and to achieve international excellence.  We want to take the best of Swansea to the world and bring artists, scholars and students from around the globe to South Wales."

The 2014 judging panel consisted of: founder of the Hay Festival, Peter Florence; novelist and Telegraph columnist, Allison Pearson; author, singer, BBC 6 music presenter and Honorary Fellow of Swansea University , Cerys Matthews MBE ; journalist and author, Carolyn Hitt; commentator and artist, Nicholas Wroe; poet and English professor at the University of Texas, Kurt Heinzelman; India-based poet, novelist, journalist and dancer, Tishani Doshi; and Founder and President of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, Professor Peter Stead.

The shortlisted internationally-acclaimed writers, who come from a rich mix of background influences: Wales, England, Ireland, Jamaica, the United States, Russia and New Zealand were:

  • Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking), 
  • Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway (Picador)
  • Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May (Fourth Estate).
  • Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet Press) ,
  • Owen Sheers, Mametz (National Theatre Wales), 
  • Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Galley Beggar/Faber & Faber).
  • Eleanor Catton,The Luminaries (Granta).

For more information about the shortlisted authors go to:  http://www.swansea.ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize/archive/the-prize-2014/.