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Indies and debuts dominate Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist

The Dylan Thomas Prize, rewarding published work written in English by authors under the age of 30, has revealed its shortlist for 2013, with nominees spanning novels, books of short stories and collections of poetry. Not only is it the longest shortlist in the prize’s history (citing seven titles of the twelve longlisted as opposed to the prize’s usual five or six), but even more encouragingly every nominee both comes from an independent publisher and is a debuting writer. So, uh, yeah, what have you done lately, other than weep yourself to sleep at the incessant forward march of time and your lack of anything substantial to show for it oh look still typing whoops.

Three novels are nominated: The Last King of Lydia by the English Tim Leach and Call It Dog by the South African Marli Roode, both published by Atlantic Books, and Beneath the Darkening Sky by the South Sudanese Majok Tulba, published by OneWorld. The remaining prose entries are the two books of short stories: The Gurkha’s Daughter by the Indian Prajwal Parajuly, published by Quercus, and Battleborn by the American Claire Vaye Watkins, published by Granta. Rounding off the shortlist are the two collections of poetry: Sins of the Leopard by the English James Brookes, published by Salt Publishing, and The Shape of a Forest by the Welsh Jemma King, published by Parthian. The range of literary forms encompassed by the prize is designed to reflect the many practiced by its namesake.

The winner will be announced in a ceremony in Thomas’s hometown of Swansea in November, with the victor claiming a £30,000 prize and a bronze cast of Dylan Thomas, which I believe is also a legitimate form of currency in Swansea. The judging panel consists of Hay Festival founder Peter Florence, novelist and Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, author, singer and BBC 6 music presenter Cerys Matthews, journalist and author Carolyn Hitt, commentator and artist Kim Howells, Guardian Review journalist Nicholas Wroe, poet and University of Texas English professor Kurt Heinzelman, and the prize’s own chairman, Peter Stead.

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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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