Bryan Washington is £30,000 Dylan Thomas prize winner

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Dailey Hubbard

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Bryan Washington is the 2020 winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

The winner of the £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize has been named as US writer Bryan Washington.

Judges picked his debut collection of short stories, published as the volume LOT from a global shortlist of six young authors.

The prize is regarded as one of the most prestigious UK literary awards and one of the most lucrative in the world.

Those competing must be aged 39 or under – celebrating the 39 years of Thomas’s creativity.

“Bryan Washington’s collection of short stories, LOT, 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,” said the chairman of the judging panel, Prof Dai Smith.

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“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.”

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The prize in memory of Dylan Thomas is now its 15th year

Washington began writing LOT in 2016, with an ambition of charting the geography of his home city of Houston in Texas.

Focussing on the interior lives of his marginalised fellow citizens, the collection has been lauded as “gut-wrenching, bruising, profound and shattering” as it offers an exploration into the people both thriving and dying across the city’s neighbourhoods.

“As one of the judges said, he has a kickass voice,” added Prof Smith.

The five other titles shortlisted for this year’s prize were:

  • Surge by Jay Bernard,
  • Flèche by Mary Jean Chan
  • Inland by Téa Obreht
  • If All the World and Love were Young, by Stephen Sexton
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

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