Not one, but two longlists full of interesting books…

The International Dylan Thomas Prize

Announced last week, the longlist for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is full of interesting writing – and I’ve read two of them!
This prize is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, named for the Swansea-born author, who died aged 39 in 1953.

The judging panel is chaired by Professor Dai Smith CBE, together with poet, translator, and scholar, Professor Kurt Heinzelman; books editor of BBC Radio, Di Spiers and award-winning author and founding member of Leather Lane Writers and Oxford Narrative Group, Kit de Waal.

The Shortlist will be announced on 2nd April and the Winner on 16th May. Here are the books…

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Friday Black (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US) and Riverrun (UK)
  • Michael Donkor, Hold (4th Estate)
  • Clare Fisher, How the Light Gets In (Influx Press)
  • Zoe Gilbert, Folk (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Emma Glass, Peach (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press, Headline) My review
  • Louisa Hall, Trinity (Ecco) My review
  • Sarah Perry, Melmoth (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Sally Rooney, Normal People (Faber & Faber)
  • Richard Scott, Soho (Faber & Faber)
  • Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, House of Stone (Atlantic Books)
  • Jenny Xie, Eye Level (Graywolf Press)

I have Sally Rooney’s second novel in my piles, but am particularly drawn to Zoe Gilbert’s book, Folk. 

I would like to read more poetry and Jenny Xie’s collection Eye Level sounds  excellent, and having heard Richard Scott read from Soho last year, I’d like to read him on the page.


The Wellcome Book Prize

Then today, the longlist for one of my favourite prizes was announced – again, I’ve read just two so far. This prize rewards “exceptional works of literature that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives”. It’s the 10th anniversary of the prize this year. The judges this year are chaired by Elif Shafak, along with Kevin Fong, Jon Day, Viv Groskop and Rick Edwards. Here are this year’s longlisted books….

  • Amateur: A true story about what makes a man by Thomas Page McBee
  • Astroturf by Matthew Sperling
  • Educated by Tara Westover – my review
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
  • Heart: A history by Sandeep Jauhar
  • Mind on Fire: A memoir of madness and recovery by Arnold Thomas Fanning
  • Murmur by Will Eaves
  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Polio: The odyssey of eradication by Thomas Abraham
  • Sight by Jessie Greengrass – my review
  • The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster by Sarah Krasnostein
  • This Really Isn’t About You by Jean Hannah Edelstein

As always, there is a rich mix of fiction, memoir, mental health and medicine in the list, which apart from the two books I’d read, I’ve only heard of one other – The Trauma Cleaner, which sounds irresistible, but again they are all interesting.

I will be taking part in Rebecca’s shadow panel again – we’re planning to divvy up the longlist between us to cover if we can before the shortlist announcement on March 15th, so watch this space! The prize will be announced on May 1st.


Which titles are you drawn to?

Will you be following these prizes?

11 thoughts on “Not one, but two longlists full of interesting books…

  1. I was a bit annoyed with the Dylan Thomas longlist because it includes a book I thought was very underwhelming (Mad and Furious City) and another I thought was just bad (Hold). But then I loved Melmoth and am keen to read Normal People, Trinity and Friday Black.

  2. Are you doing the Dylan Thomas blog tour? I’m reviewing Eye Level for that and really looking forward to it. It falls the same week as the Wellcome shortlist announcement, though, so it’ll be an awfully busy time! I didn’t find Richard Scott’s poems quite as powerful in print as spoken aloud, but Soho is still well worth a read.

  3. I loved Normal People but it’s the only one I’ve read on either short list. It leaves me a lot to go on, doesn’t it? But not Melmoth. I really disliked The Essex Serpent, I don’t think I could take another dose of Perry.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I didn’t get on with the Essex Serpent either. It’s a bit of a Marmite book. I’ll be reading the Rooney soon I hope.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      In previous years of the Wellcome Prize there have been books about nature cures etc, but these are absent this year – apart from the Polio and Heart books, it’s all about mental health one way or another this year.

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