We have another reason to celebrate this week as Meena Kandasamy's When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife has reached the longlist of the Dylan Thomas Prize 2018, a prize which is in partnership with Swansea University.
Meena's book, When I Hit You is a dazzling and provocative novel of an abusive marriage.
Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back - a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.
The prize is 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. 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.
Launched in 2006, the International Dylan Thomas Prize in partnership with Swansea University is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers.
This year’s longlist of 12 books comprises: eight novels, two short story collections, and two volumes of poetry.
Zambian born author, Kayo Chingonyi, joins authors from the UK, Ireland, America, India, and Nigeria on the longlist as they contend for the £30,000 prize.
Chaired by Professor Dai Smith CBE, Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University, and historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture, this year’s judging panel also features: poet, translator, and scholar, Professor Kurt Heinzelman; novelist and playwright, Rachel Trezise, playwright and author Paul McVeigh, and writer, publisher and festival director, Namita Gokhale.
Professor Dai Smith CBE, said: “This year’s longlist demonstrates the originality and literary excellence of work being produced by young writers from around the world. Featuring prose and poetry from new and established authors, this is an intriguing and scarily good longlist! The judges now have a very difficult job, but we can be certain that we will have an exceptionally strong shortlist of six stunningly gifted authors."
The shortlist of six books will be revealed at the end of March.
The winner will be announced on Thursday 10th May 2018 at Swansea University’s Great Hall, in the run up to International Dylan Thomas Day on 14 May.