Dylan Thomas Prize is an international literary award that celebrates the best in young English language writing (writers under 30) in an effort for foster and promote young talent.
“A defeated king stands on top of a pyre. His conqueror, the Persian ruler Cyrus, signals to his guards; they step forward and touch flaming torches to the dry wood. Croesus, once the wealthiest man of the ancient world, is to be burned alive. As he watches the flames catch, Croesus thinks back over his life. He remembers the time he asked the old Athenian philosopher, Solon, who was the happiest man in the world. Croesus used to think it was him. But then all his riches could not remove the spear from his dying elder son’s chest; could not bring his mute younger son to speak; could not make him as wise as his own chief slave; could not bring his wife’s love back; could not prevent his army from being torn apart and his kingdom lost. As the old philosopher had replied, a man’s happiness can only be measured when he is dead. The first coils of smoke wrap around Croesus’ neck like a noose… ” publisher
“ Jo returns to South Africa after ten years in the UK to cover the riots sweeping the Jo’burg township of Alex. Nico, her estranged Afrikaner father, reappears and asks her to help prove his innocence in the murder of a black man, abducted by the security forces decades earlier. As they set off on a road trip through South Africa’s now-unfamiliar landscape, it becomes clear that Nico knows more about the murder than he is letting on, and Jo begins to wonder whether she is his accomplice, or his captive. Set against the backdrop of a country struggling to absorb its bloody history and forge a new democracy, Call It Dog asks whether justice and truth are more important than the bonds of loyalty and love, and explores what is it like to feel you no longer belong in the land of your birth – or to your own family.” publisher
Beneath the Darkening Sky
by Majok Tulba (unavailable at this point)
“When the rebels come to Obinna’s village, they do more than wreak terror for one night. Lining the children up in the middle of the village, they measure them against the height of an AK-47. Those who are shorter than the gun are left behind. Those who are taller are taken. Obinna and his older brother Akot find themselves the rebel army’s newest recruits. But while Akot almost willingly surrenders to the training, Obinna resists, determined not to be warped by the revolution’s slogans and violence. In the face of his vicious captain’s determination to break him, Obinna finds help in a soldier called Priest, and in the power of his own dreams. Beneath the Darkening Sky describes a life unimaginably different from our own, but one that is the experience of tens of thousands of child soldiers. Uncompromising, vivid and raw, it is an astonishing portrait of a mind trying to make sense of a senseless world.” publisher
“In each of these ten unforgettable stories, Claire Vaye Watkins writes her way fearlessly into the mythology of the American West, utterly reimagining it. Her characters orbit around the region’s vast spaces, winning redemption despite – and often because of – the hardship and violence they endure. The arrival of a foreigner transforms the exchange of eroticism and emotion at a prostitution ranch. A prospecting hermit discovers the limits of his rugged individualism when he tries to rescue an abused teenager. Decades after she led her best friend into a degrading encounter in a Vegas hotel room, a woman feels the aftershock. Most bravely of all, Watkins takes on – and reinvents – her own troubled legacy in a story that emerges from the mayhem and destruction of Helter Skelter. Arcing from the sweeping and sublime to the minute and personal, from Gold Rush to ghost town to desert to brothel, the collection echoes not only in its title but also in its fierce, undefeated spirit the motto of her home state.” publisher
“A Hindu religious festival in Darjeeling brings with it a sacrifice; a Nepali-Bhutanese refugee pins her hopes on the West; a Kalimpong shopkeeper faces an impossible dilemma; a Gurkha’s daughter tries to comprehend her father’s complaints. These are just some of the stories describing and dramatizing the experiences of both the Nepalese people and the Nepalese diaspora—the people whose culture and language is Nepalese but who are dispersed to India, Bhutan and beyond. From every perspective and on every page, Prajwal Parajuly blends rich colour and vernacular to paint an eye-opening picture of a unique world and its people.” publisher