The 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize has been awarded to Maggie Shipstead for her debut novel Seating Arrangements.
The Dylan Thomas Prize is open to any published author in the English language under the age of 30, the award celebrates the legacy of Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas who wrote most of his best work in his 20’s. This prize aims to recognise and support the literary heroes of the future.
Seating Arrangements (M)
by Maggie Shipstead
“Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff. Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust.” – publisher
Also on the shortlist (and available in North America):
Once You Break a Knuckle (M)
by D.W. Wilson
“Set in the remote Kootenay Valley in western Canada, Once You Break a Knuckle tells stories of good people doing bad things: two bullied adolescents sabotage a rope swing, resulting in another boy’s death; a heartbroken young man refuses to warn his best friend about an approaching car; sons challenge fathers and break taboos. Crackling with tension and propelled by jagged, cutting dialogue, the stories interconnect and reveal to us how our best intentions are doomed to fail or injure, how our loves can fall short or mislead us, how even friendship–especially friendship–can be something dangerously temporary.
Wilson’s world is always dangerous, barbed with violence and the possibility of betrayal. And yet, in this small, finely-wrought universe, a dogged, wry dignity is usually enough to see us through. An intoxicating alloy of adrenaline and the kind of vulnerability we would all admit to if we were honest, Once You Break a Knuckle is about the courage it takes just to make it through the day.” – publisher
The Doll Princess (M)
by Tom Benn
“It’s Manchester, July 1996, the month after the IRA bomb, and the Evening News is carrying reports of two murders. On the front page there’s a photograph of a glamorous Egyptian woman, a socialite and heiress to an oil fortune, whose partially clothed body has been found in the basement of a block of flats. It would appear that she has been the subject of a sexual attack. In the back pages of the same paper there is a fifty-word piece on the murder of a young prostitute whose body has been found dumped on a roadside near the McVitie’s Factory. For Bane – fixer, loanshark and legman for one of Manchester’s established ganglords – it’s the second piece of news that hits hardest. Determined to find out what happened to his childhood sweetheart, he searches through the tribes and estates of his bombed city for answers. It soon becomes clear that the two newspaper stories belong on the same page, and that Bane’s world belongs to others – those willing to profit from gun arsenals, human trafficking and a Manchester in decay.
The Doll Princess introduces the mesmeric narrator, Henry Bane, a conflicted man caught up in a mire of evil, and his creator, Tom Benn – an assured and exhilarating new voice in literary crime fiction.” -publisher