Swansea University becomes first UK university to base an English module on a literary prize with the International Dylan Thomas Prize

In February 2019, Swansea University will become the first British University to run an English module based solely on a literary prize, where students will examine contemporary works of fiction, poetry, drama and short story collections longlisted for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize.

This year’s module will see students studying 2019’s longlisted writers, none of which have ever before been studied within one module as part of a literature degree, including Zimbabwean author Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, African-American author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, British-Sri Lankan author Guy Gunaratne, British-Ghanaian author Michael Donkor as well as bestselling female authors Sally Rooney and Sarah Perry, and Emma Glass, Richard Scott, Jenny Xie, Zoe Gilbert, Louisa Hall and Clare Fisher.

Dylan Thomas Prize logoThe module will include access to a number of authors who will attend tutorials with the students to discuss their work. Members of the publishing industry will also run tutorials on subjects ranging from book marketing and publicity, to book prize logistics and sales in publishing to help students to explore how literary prizes help to produce, promote and celebrate contemporary writing.

The module will form part of Swansea University’s DylanED programme which runs creative initiatives aimed at encouraging and fostering creative writing from a young age. This year’s projects include: writing workshops for 8-12-year-olds in Calcutta, India, as part of British Council Wales’ “Wales in Kolkata” programme; competitions and workshops for 8-18-year-olds in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot; and a series of Rhys Davies Trust funded school projects across the Rhondda Valley.

Lead lecturer for the module, Dr Nicholas Taylor-Collins, said “This really is a landmark module for English literature. The International Dylan Thomas Prize Module offers our finalists a unique opportunity to read excellent, hyper-contemporary literature which explores important themes, including those of gender, race and politics, all the while exploring how literary prizes help to produce, promote and celebrate that writing. Coupled with internship placements and podcast interviews with the authors, the students will be able to develop themselves as publishing-industry professionals, as well as readers of brand-new writing. No other university has the ability to integrate a literary prize into its course in the way Swansea University can, and we - myself, my colleagues and our students are making the most of it.”

One of the most prestigious awards for young writers, worth £30,000, The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence and is at the forefront of bringing experimental, challenging and dynamic new writing to the world stage, including poetry to novels, short stories and drama. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity.