Washington wins Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

Washington wins Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

Bryan Washington has won the £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut short story collection, Lot.

Published by Atlantic Books, the collection explores the lives of "marginalised" citizens living in Houston, Texas, and their community and family life.

Chair of the judging panel Swansea University professor Dai Smith said: “Bryan Washington’s collection of short stories does what all great fiction does, finds a style that can open up a world that is otherwise unknowable and he does it with wit and grace. It is a real voice, unique, unforgettable, generous, and warm and one which provides us with a sense of community and the full experience of life. As one of the judges said he has a country and western kickass voice.”

Washington said: "It's a gift whenever an audience gives you the time of day for a story, whatever that is, let alone to be acknowledged for your work on such a massive platform. And it's an honour to tell stories about the communities that are dear to me, and the communities that I live among—marginalized communities, communities of colour, and queer communities of colour, specifically.

"So I'm thankful for the chance to share space with my fellow nominees, and I'm grateful for the support of my friends, and my family, and my chosen fam. My name's on the award, but it belongs just as much to my Atlantic and Riverhead teams, my agent Danielle Bukowski, and everyone who's given these stories their time.”

The prize is awarded for "the best published literary work in the English language", written by an author aged 39 or under. It encompasses poetry, novels, short stories and drama.

The five other titles shortlisted for the 2020 prize were Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus), Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber), Inland by Téa Obreht (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), If All the World and Love were Young by Stephen Sexton (Penguin Random House) and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, Vintage).

Previous winners include Guy Gunaratne’s debut novel ,In Our Mad and Furious City in 2019, and Max Porter’s Grief Is The Thing With Feathers.