Judges for the 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize announced

Distinguished novelists, playwrights, writers, a poet and a festival director make up the judging panel for the 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize in partnership with Swansea University, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for young writers.

The £30,000 prize, which opened for entries on 4 September 2017, is awarded to the best eligible published literary work in English, written by an author aged 39 or under.  

‌‌Launched in 2006, the annual International Dylan Thomas Prize is aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide.  Past winners have come from Wales, England, the USA, Vietnam and Australia, and include: Fiona McFarlane (The High Places [Farrar, Straus, Giroux (US) and Sceptre (UK)], Max Porter (Grief is the Thing with Feathers [Faber & Faber]), Joshua Ferris (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour [Penguin]); Claire Vaye Watkins (Battleborn [Granta]); Maggie Shipstead (Seating Arrangements [HarperCollins]); and Rachel Trezise (Fresh Apples [Parthian]).

The judging panel for the 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize:

Namita Gokhale:  writer, publisher and festival director; author of sixteen books; co-founder and co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival;  Director of Yatra Books. 

Kurt Heinzelman:  poet, translator and scholar; professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Paul McVeigh:  playwright, director and award winning writer; associate director of Word Factory; founder of the London Short Story Festival.

Dai Smith CBE (chair of panel):  historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture; Honorary Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University.

Rachel Trezise:  award winning novelist and playwright.

Professor Dai Smith, Honorary Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University said:

“The panel of judges assembled for 2018 under my chairmanship bring to their formidable task experience of Wales and the world, of the practice of creative writing in prose and poetry, of drama and communication, of readers' expectations and writers' risk taking, and, of course, of the multifariousness of Dylan himself. We have a hard act to follow after last year's panel chose Fiona McFarlane’s book of short stories, The High Places, but the entrants for 2018 are already queuing up for the amazing accolade of being acclaimed the winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize in Swansea in May next year.”

The winner will be announced at the final awards ceremony in Swansea University’s Great Hall, Wales, on 10 May 2018. 

About the Judges

Namita GokhaleNamita Gokhale is an Indian writer, publisher and festival director.  She is the author of sixteen books including nine works of fiction.  Her debut novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion was first published in 1984, and has remained a cult classic.  The Himalayan trilogy includes the recent Things to Leave Behind, considered her most ambitious novel yet.  She has worked extensively on Indian myth and also written two books for young readers. 

Namita is a co-founder and co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, considered the largest free literary festival in the world, as well as of ‘Mountain Echoes’, the annual Bhutan Literature Festival.  She is also a director of Yatra Books, a publishing house specialised in translation. 



Kurt HeinzelmanProfessor Kurt Heinzelman is a poet, translator, and scholar. His most recent book of poems is Whatever You May Say and he has translated Demarcations, a collection of poems by Jean Follain.  He has been the Executive Curator at the Harry Ransom Center and the Director of Education at the Blanton Museum of Art. 

A Professor of English at the University of Texas-Austin specializing in Poetry and Poetics and a teacher in the Michener Center for Writers, he is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Texas Studies in Literature and Language (TSLL), and the co-founder and longtime Advisory Editor of Bat City Review.  

Paul McVeighPaul McVeigh began his writing career in Belfast as a playwright before moving to London to write comedy which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival and on London's West End.  His short stories have been read on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5 and 'Hollow' was shortlisted for Irish Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2017.

His debut novel The Good Son won The Polari First Novel Prize and was shortlisted for many others including the Prix du Roman Cezam in France.  He is associate director of Word Factory, the UK's national organisation for excellence in the short story and he is founder of the London Short Story Festival.  Paul's work has been translated into seven languages. 



Dai SmithProfessor Dai Smith CBE is a distinguished historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture.  As a Broadcaster he has won numerous awards for arts and historical documentaries and from 1992 to 2000 was Head of Programmes at BBC Wales.  He was Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan from 2001 until 2005 and is currently the Honorary Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University.

He was Chair of the Arts Council of Wales from 2006 until 2016 and is Series Editor of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Library of Wales for classic works. In 2013, he published a novel Dream On and in 2014 edited definitive anthologies of Welsh Short Stories, Story I & II, for the Library of Wales. His latest fiction, the novella What I Know I Cannot Say, and the linked short stories All That Lies Beneath, were published in 2017 by Parthian Books.

Professor Smith is Chair of the Judging Panel.


Rachel TreziseRachel Trezise is a novelist and playwright from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales. Her debut novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures list in 2001 and has recently been added to the Library of Wales series. Her debut short fiction collection Fresh Apples won the inaugural International Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006. Her second short fiction collection Cosmic Latte won the Edge Hill Prize Readers’ Award in 2014. Her stage plays are Tonypandemonium and We’re Still Here produced by National Theatre Wales in 2013 and 2017. A new novel, Wonderful, will be published in June 2018. A new short story collection and two new plays are forthcoming.