The judges for the 2021 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize have been announced today (8 December).
The guest judges boast an incredible line-up of literary talent including the new Chair of the 2021 judging panel, award-winning writer, publisher and co-founder of the Jaipur Literature Festival Namita Gokhale, co-founder and director of the Bradford Literature Festival Syima Aslam, Irish poet and 2020 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature winner Stephen Sexton, bestselling author and 2014 winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Joshua Ferris and Welsh novelist and academic Francesca Rhydderch.
The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes, as well as one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers. The 2021 edition marks the 16th anniversary of the decorated competition, with the judging panel tasked with choosing the best published literary work in the English language across genres, including poetry, novels, short stories and drama, written by an author aged 39 or under.
Namita Gokhale, Chair of the judging panel, said: “It is an extraordinary honour to be associated once again with the vibrant and inspirational Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, this time as the Chair of the jury. The Prize is unique in the range of literary forms it includes, its breadth and diversity of offerings, and in that it celebrates international writers. Reading the longlist is always a voyage of discovery, and I look forward to working with the outstanding jury to arrive upon the winner of the 2021 Prize.”
Elaine Canning, Swansea University’s Head of Cultural Engagement and Development, added: “We are delighted to welcome our international panel of esteemed writers and festival directors for the 2021 edition of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize and look forward to showcasing the work of young writers across the world through forthcoming longlist and shortlist announcements.”
Previous winners have included: Bryan Washington for Lot (2020), Guy Gunaratne for In Our Mad and Furious City (2019), Kayo Chingonyi for Kumukanda (2018), Fiona McFarlane for The High Places (2017), Max Porter for Grief is the Thing With Feathers (2016), Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (2014), Claire Vaye Watkins for Battleborn (2013), Maggie Shipstead for Seating Arrangements (2012), Lucy Caldwell for The Meeting Point (2011), Elyse Fenton for Clamor (2010), Nam Le for The Boat (2008) and Rachel Tresize for Fresh Apples (2006).
The longlist for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize will be announced on 21 January, followed by a special online event at the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival in February 2021. The shortlist announcement will take place on 25 March, with the Winner’s Ceremony on the eve of International Dylan Thomas Day, 13 May.