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British Zambian poet shortlisted for UK young writers prize

SHORTLISTED: Kayo Chingonyi (Photo credit: Naomi Woddis)

FOUR DEBUT authors including Zambian poet Kayo Chingonyi have been shortlisted for the 10th edition of the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize which celebrates the brightest young writers in the world.

Worth £30,000, it is the world’s largest literary prize for young writers aged 39 or under, open to writers from all nations, writing in English.

31-year-old Chingonyi is nominated for his debut collection of poetry Kumakanda, which explores the rites of passage boys go through to become men, the intersection of masculinity and race and what it means to be British and not British, all at once.

Kumukanda translates as “initiation” and refers to both the rites of passage young boys from the Luvale tribe must complete before becoming.

Other poets shortlisted include Cuban-American short-story writer Carmen Maria Machado, Six-time British novelist Gwendoline Riley, Irish debut novelist and Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Sally Rooney, Debut American novelist Emily Ruskovich and American thriller author Gabriel Tallent.

Professor Dai Smith CBE of Swansea University, chair of the judges said: "The shortlist of the 2018 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize is an amazing showcase of young writing talent from across the globe.

"There are two startling and searing novels from contemporary America; two other novels which engage in a forensic examination of love and loathing, from England and Ireland; an inventively original collection of short stories from the USA and a challenging, poised work of poetry which takes us to the core of a divided Britain. The judges will have a difficult job over the next two months to find a winner from what is already a list of winners."

2018 will be the 10th edition of The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and will commemorate 65 years since the death of Wales’ most lauded writer Dylan Thomas. The winner will be announced on 10th May.

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