University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize Announces Longlist

Posted on 21 July 2010

2008 UW Dylan Thomas Prize shorlisted writers

Renowned actress and daughter of Richard Burton, Kate Burton, is one of a seven-strong panel of judges for this year’s University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize, which today announced its 2010 longlist.

The panel, which is once again chaired by Hay Literature Festival founder Peter Florence, has selected a longlist of 16 literary works, which includes poetry, novels and a play. Spanning four continents, the selected writers hail from as far afield as Canada, New Zealand, the USA, South Africa and Somalia, along with five from the UK.

The Prize, one of the largest of its kind for young writers, which is sponsored by the University of Wales and awarded annually, honours the internationally esteemed works of Dylan Thomas, and is open to any published writer in the English language under the age of thirty.

English poet Caroline Bird, now aged 23, who was shortlisted for the 2008 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize, is once again in contention for the award with her third collection of poems, Watering Can. 27-year-old American Army Ranger, Johnny Meyer, is the first ever playwright to make the Prize’s longlist with American Volunteers, which is based in Afghanistan and draws upon his firsthand experiences. Nadifa Mohamed, from Somalia, has cited Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood as inspiration for her longlisted novel Black Mamba Boy.

The sixteen literary works cover a range of topics, from divorce, love, relationships, war and racism. In her debut novel, The Rehearsal, New Zealander, Eleanor Catton, explores the controversial topic of an affair between a high school girl and her teacher.

University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize founder, Professor Peter Stead, said:

“The calibre of these sixteen works is outstanding. This unique Prize was established to celebrate young, talented writers worldwide and these works aptly showcase the excellence of creative writing that exists across the entire English-speaking world. This award honours a truly great writer who died while still a young man and I am sure it will be a great encouragement to talented young writers everywhere.”

In addition to Peter Florence and Kate Burton, the 2010 judging panel includes Kurt Heinzelman, Professor of English at the University of Texas, a founding Board member of the Dylan Thomas Prize and a judge in both 2006 and 2008; Cardiff-born Gwyneth Lewis, the award winning poet and journalist who was named as the first National Poet of Wales; Bruno Maddox, novelist and former reviewer for The New York Times and Editor-in-chief of Spy magazine; Natalie Moody, Chair of charitable organisation the Howard Gilman Foundation and Professor Peter Stead, Prize founder, historian, renowned broadcaster and cultural commentator.

Commenting on the judging panel, Peter Stead said:

“I am delighted to welcome both new and more familiar faces to the judging panel for the 2010 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize. I have the greatest respect for the achievements of all my fellow judges; you could not have asked for a more enthusiastic, talented and experienced set of individuals to take on the task of deciding the £30,000 award.

“I’m sure over the next few weeks we’re going to have a number of heated debates as we whittle down this list of 16 extremely talented young writers to the final shortlist for this year’s Prize.”

Professor Marc Clement, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, added:

“The University is extremely pleased to continue sponsoring the Dylan Thomas Prize. Its emphasis on encouraging young and emerging talent from all parts of the world is an exact reflection of the ethos of the University of Wales, and the excellent programme of educational activities associated with the Prize will help to spur on the next generation of potential writers in Wales.”

The University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist will be announced in September. For more information on the Prize, please visit


Notes to Editors

The Longlist
Adebe D.A., 23 - Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House)
Caroline Bird, 23 - Watering Can (Carcanet)
Elyse Fenton, 29 – Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center)
Katherine Kilalea, 28 - One Eye’d Leigh (Carcanet)
Dora Malech, 28 - Shore Ordered Ocean (The Waywiser Press)
Leanna O’Sullivan, 27 – Cailleach (Bloodaxe Books)
Johnny Mayer, 28 - American Volunteers (City on a Hill Productions)
Eleanor Catton, 24 - The Rehearsal (Portobello Books)
Brian DeLeeuw, 27 - In This Way I Was Saved (John Murray Publishers)
Ciara Hegarty, 29 - The Road to the Sea (Macmillan New Writing)
Emilie Mackie, 27 - And This is True (Sceptre)
Karan Mahajan, 26 - Family Planning (Harper Perennial)
Nadifa Mohamed, 28 - Black Mamba Boy (Harper Collins)
Amy Sackville, 29 - The Still Point (Portobello Books)
Ali Shaw, 28 - The Girl with Glass Feet (Atlantic Books)
Craig Silvey, 27 - Jasper Jones (Windmill Books (Random House))

The University of Wales

The University of Wales is a major national institution in Wales. It is committed to helping to fulfill the educational and economic needs of Wales and to supporting its linguistic, cultural, and national heritage. Looking beyond its distinctive Welsh responsibilities, the University is also committed to its international role and to enhancing its standing across the UK and overseas. To date, the University has awarded over 600,000 degrees to students worldwide and is the second largest degree-awarding body in the United Kingdom. To find out more please visit:


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