This year’s shortlist includes three of the most talked about British female authors writing about contemporary womanhood: Somali-British writer Warsan Shire, the world-famous poet behind Beyoncé’s features Lemonade and Black is King, pays homage to refugees, Black women and teenage girls in her electrifying debut collection, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head; Sheena Patel – recently longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Jhalak Prize – offers a piercing critique of social media and heteronormative relationships in her era-defining debut novel I’m a Fan; and Saba Sams, who burst onto the UK writing scene after winning the BBC National Short Story Award 2022 and who is the youngest contender for this year’s prize (aged 26), is recognised for her tender and witty Send Nudes – a short story collection which highlights the confusing double standards facing women today.
Completing the shortlist are three international authors at the forefront of their home nation’s literary scenes. From Ireland comes Sara Baume – winner of the Davy Byrnes Short Story Award, the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature – who is nominated for her poetic third novel Seven Steeples, which depicts a couple escaping into the wilds of South-West Ireland. Australia’s Robbie Arnott, a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist, has been nominated for his spellbinding third novel Limberlost, which transports readers to the folkloric setting of the Tasmanian wilderness. The final contender for this year’s prize is Nigeria’s Arinze Ifeakandu, an AKO Caine Prize for African Writing finalist, who makes a confident debut with his exquisite short story collection, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things – a bookwhich explores what it means to be a queer male in his home country.
The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize winner will be announced at a Winner’s Ceremony held in Swansea on Thursday 11 May, prior to International Dylan Thomas Day on Sunday 14 May.
*this post was created using information from a press release but all opinions remain my own.