From Sri Lanka to Texas, and Ireland via the Middle East, this year’s shortlist features a powerful, international collection of writers who are offering platforms for under-represented voices.
Comprising four novels, one poetry collection, and one short story collection, the shortlist also includes three debuts:
· A Passage North – Anuk Arudpragasam (Sri Lankan, Novel)
· Auguries of a Minor God – Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe (Indian, Poetry Debut)
· The Sweetness of Water – Nathan Harris (American, Debut Novel)
· No One is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood (American, Novel)
· Open Water – Caleb Azumah Nelson (British-Ghanaian, Debut Novel)
· Filthy Animals – Brandon Taylor (American, Collection of Short Stories)
The debuts on this year’s shortlist includeIndian-born Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe whose first poetry collection Auguries of a Minor Godfollows two different journeys, the first of love and the wounds it makes and the second following a family of refugees who have fled to the West from conflict in an unspecified Middle Eastern country; the contemporary classic The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris who fuses together historical fiction with the complex reality of today’s society; and the achingly beautiful love story Open Water (now sold in 13 territories worldwide) by 25-year-old British-Ghanaian writer Caleb Azumah Nelson who shines a light on race and masculinity.
Also amongst the contenders for this prestigious £20,000 prize are: American novelist and international bestseller Patricia Lockwood for No One is Talking About This, hermeditation on love, language and human connection which was also shortlisted for The Booker Prize; Sri Lankan writer Anuk Arudpragasam for his masterful novel, A Passage North, also shortlisted for The Booker Prize which explores age and youth, as well as loss and survival in the wake of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war; and Brandon Taylor’sFilthy Animals that brings together quietly devastating stories of young people caught up in violence and desire, while longing for intimacy.
The six strong shortlist was selected by a judging panel chaired by co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and award-winning author Namita Gokhale, alongside an impressive panel of judges including Welsh novelist, playwright, and winner of the 2006 Dylan Thomas Prize Rachel Trezise; celebratedpoet and novelist Luke Kennard,winner of the 2021 Forward poetry prize; novelist and Swansea University lecturer Alan Bilton; and Nigerian-British author Irenosen Okojie who was awarded an MBE For Services to Literature in 2021.
The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama.
Namita Gokhale, Chair of Judges, said: “The longlist for the 2022 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was one of the strongest ever. The jury has whittled this down to a shortlist that is riveting and compelling on so many levels. It presents a rich diversity of accomplished young and debut voices, and their explorations of the poetic, the historical, and the contemporary.”
The Winner’s Ceremony will be held in Swansea on 12th May, two days before International Dylan Thomas Day.
This year’s longlist celebrates female voices from around the world and includes: the gritty debut novel by interdisciplinary London artist Tice Cin titledKeeping the House, American novelist Patricia Lockwood’smeditation on love, language and human connectionin No One is Talking About This, Dantiel W. Moniz’sdebut collection of short intergenerational stories in Milk Blood Heat that contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, inheritance, and the elemental darkness in us all, British writer Fiona Mozley’s urban comedy Hot Stew, the honest and darkly funny debut novelActs of Desperation by emerging star of Irish literature Megan Nolan, andBritish-born Prague-based Helen Oyeyemi’s exploration of what it means to be seen by another person in Peaces.
There are also two female poets up for the £20,000 Prize including Desiree Bailey for her lyrical quest for belonging and freedom in What Noise Against the Cane as she draws on her cultural identity and upbringing in Trinidad and Tobago,as well asIndian-born Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe whose first poetry collection Auguries of a Minor Godfollows two different journeys, the first of love and the wounds it makes and the second following a family of refugees who have fled to the West from conflict in an unspecified Middle Eastern country.
The debut novelist line-up is further completed by the contemporary classic The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris who fuses together historical fiction and the complex reality of society today, and the achingly beautiful love story Open Water (now sold in 13 territories worldwide) by 25-year-old British-Ghanaian writer Caleb Azumah Nelson who shines a light on race and masculinity. Additionally among the 12 authors on the 2022 longlist are Sri Lankan writer Anuk Arudpragasam for his masterful novel, A Passage North, which explores age and youth, loss and survival in the wake of the devastation of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war and Brandon Taylor’sFilthy Animals that brings together quietly devastating stories of young people caught up in violence and desire, while longing for intimacy.
Chaired by Jaipur Literature Festival’s founder-director and award-winning author Namita Gokhale, the longlisted titles will now be whittled down to a six strong shortlist by an impressive panel of judges including New York Times-bestselling author and 2012 winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Maggie Shipstead, celebratedPoet and novelist Luke Kennard who recently won the 2021 Forward poetry prize, novelist and Swansea University lecturer Alan Bilton, and Nigerian British author Irenosen Okojie who was awarded an MBE For Services to Literature in 2021.
Through themes of identity, conflict and love, this year’s longlist comprises eight novels, two poetry collections and two short story collections:
· A Passage North – Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta)
· What Noise Against the Cane – Desiree Bailey (Yale University Press)
· Keeping the House – Tice Cin (And Other Stories)
· Auguries of a Minor God – Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe (Faber)
· The Sweetness of Water – Nathan Harris (Tinder Press/Headline)
· No One is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus)
· Milk Blood Heat – Dantiel W. Moniz (Atlantic Books)
· Hot Stew – Fiona Mozley (John Murray Press)
· Open Water – Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking, Penguin General)
· Acts of Desperation – Megan Nolan (Jonathan Cape)
· Peaces – Helen Oyeyemi (Faber)
· Filthy Animals – Brandon Taylor (Daunt Books Publishing)
Worth £20,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as the world’s largest literary prize for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama.
On receiving the 2021 award for her ‘fearless’ debut Luster,Raven Leilani said: ‘Very early in my life, Dylan Thomas’ work was an enormous comfort and inspiration to me, so this is an incredible honor and affirmation. When I first encountered his work, I was around twelve and just starting to write, and I remember taking one of his collections home from the library and trying emulate his rhythm. I still have diaries full of those attempts, and I want to thank the judges, the readers, my family and friends, and my brilliant colleagues at Picador and Trident for their support. It means everything to me.’
The shortlist will be announced on the 31st March followed by the Winner’s Ceremony held in Swansea on 12th May, two days before International Dylan Thomas Day.
– British Library Event with shortlisted authors, London – 11th May
– Winner Announcement and award ceremony, Swansea – 12th May
Launched in 2006, the annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence. Worth £20,000, it is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama. The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity. One of the most influential, internationally-renowned writers of the mid-twentieth century, the prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow.
Anuk Arudpragasam was born in Colombo and currently lives between Sri Lanka and India. His debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize as well as the Internationaler Literaturpreis. His second novel, A Passage North, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. He received a doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University in 2019. Follow him on Twitter @sirukavi
What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree Bailey (Yale University Press)
Desiree Bailey is the author of What Noise Against the Cane (Yale University Press, 2021), which won the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Poetry. She is also the author of the fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater (O’clock Press, 2016) and has short stories and poems published in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, the Academy of American Poets and elsewhere. Desiree is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, New York. She currently lives in Providence, RI. Follow her on Twitter @DesireeCBailey
Keeping the House by Tice Cin (And Other Stories)
Tice Cin is an interdisciplinary artist from north London. A London Writers Award-winner, her work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Extra Teeth and Skin Deep, and has been commissioned by organisations such as the Battersea Arts Centre and St Paul’s Cathedral. An alumnus of the Barbican Young Poets programme, she now creates digital art as part of Design Yourself – a collective based at the Barbican Centre – exploring what it means to be human at a time of great technological change. A producer and DJ, she has released an EP, Keeping the House, to accompany her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @ticecin
Auguries of a Minor God by Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe (Faber)
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe is a poet, pacifist and fabulist. Born in India, she grew up across the Middle East, Europe and North America before calling Ireland home. Founder of the Play It Forward Fellowships, she serves as poetry editor at Skein Press and Fallow Media, contributing editor for the Stinging Fly and an advisory board member of Ledbury Poetry Critics Ireland. She is the recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award in Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland and the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Award. Follow her on Twitter @AriaEipe
The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris (Tinder Press/Headline)
Nathan Harris is a Michener fellow at the University of Texas. He was awarded the Kidd prize, as judged by Anthony Doerr, and was also a finalist for the Tennessee Williams fiction prize. THE SWEETNESS OF WATER is his debut novel. He lives in Austin, Texas. Follow @TinderPress for more information.
No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus)
Patricia Lockwood is the author of four books, including the 2021 novel No One Is Talking About This, an international bestseller which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and translated into 20 languages. Her 2017 memoir Priestdaddy won the Thurber Prize for American Humor and was named one of the Guardian‘s100 best books of the 21st century. She also has two poetry collections, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (2014) and Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (2012). Lockwood’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the London Review of Books, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in Savannah, Georgia. Follow her on Twitter @TriciaLockwood
Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Atlantic Books)
Dantiel W. Moniz is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Emerging Writer Award by the Key West Literary Seminars, and a Tin House Scholarship. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Paris Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, American Short Fiction, Yale Review, One Story, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and elsewhere. Milk Blood Heat is her first book. She lives in Northeast Florida. Follow her on Twitter @dantielwmoniz
Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley(John Murray Press)
Fiona Mozley grew up in York and lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Elmet, won a Somerset Maugham Award and the Polari Prize. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Dublin Literary Award and the International Dylan Thomas Prize. In 2018 Fiona Mozley was shortlisted for the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Follow her @fjmoz
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking, Penguin General)
Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 27-year-old British-Ghanaian writer and photographer living in South East London. His photography has been shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the People’s Choice prize. His short story, PRAY, was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2020. His first novel, OPEN WATER, won the Costa First Novel Award and the Bad Form Book of the Year Award, was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year, and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Gordon Burn Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize. He was selected as a National Book Foundation ‘5 under 35’ honoree by Brit Bennett in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @CalebANelson
Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan (Jonathan Cape)
Megan Nolan lives in London and was born in 1990 in Waterford, Ireland. Her essays, fiction and reviews have been published in The New York Times, The White Review, The Sunday Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian and in the literary anthology, Winter Papers. She writes a fortnightly column for the New Statesman. This is her first novel.
Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi (Faber)
Helen Oyeyemi is the author of The Icarus Girl, The Opposite House, White is for Witching (which won the Somerset Maugham Award), Mr Fox, Boy, Snow, Bird, Gingerbread and the short story collection What is Not Yours is Not Yours. In 2013, Helen was included in Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists.
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Daunt Books Publishing)
Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and the Foyles Fiction Book of the Year. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow in fiction. Follow him on Twitter @blgtylr
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Namita Gokhale is a writer and festival director. She is the author of twenty works of fiction and non-fiction. Her acclaimed debut novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion, was published in 1984. Her latest novel The Blind Matriarch examines the Indian joint family against the backdrop of the pandemic. Jaipur Journals, published in January 2020, is set in the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival, of which Gokhale is a founder-director.
Her work spans various genres, including novels, short stories, Himalayan studies, mythology, several anthologies, books for young readers, and a recent play. Gokhale is the recipient of various prizes and awards, including the prestigious Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Literature) Award 2021 for her novel Things to Leave Behind.
Follow her on Twitter @NamitaGokhale_
Maggie Shipstead is the New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Seating Arrangements, Astonish Me, and Great Circle. The winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. @MaggieShipstead
Alan Bilton is the author of three novels, The End of The Yellow House (Watermark 2020), The Known and Unknown Sea (Cillian, 2014), and The Sleepwalkers’ Ball (Alcemi, 2009), described by one critic as ‘Franz Kafka meets Mary Poppins’. He is also the author of a collection of surrealist short stories, Anywhere Out of the World. (Cillian, 2016) as well as books on silent film comedy, contemporary fiction, and the 1920s. He was a Hay Festival Writer at Work in 2016 and 2017 and teaches creative writing, literature and film at Swansea University.@ABiltonAuthor
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British author whose bold, experimental works create vivid narratives that play with form and language. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish and short story collections Speak Gigantular and Nudibranch have won and been shortlisted for multiple awards. Her work has been optioned for the screen. A fellow and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, Irenosen is the winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for her story, Grace Jones. She was awarded an MBE For Services to Literature in 2021.
Luke Kennard is a poet and novelist whose sixth collection of poetry, Notes on the Sonnets, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2021. His fifth, Cain, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2017. His novels, The Transition and The Answer To Everything are available from 4th Estate. He lectures at the University of Birmingham.