Irish author Michael Magee longlisted for world’s largest literary prize for young writers

Irish author Michael Magee longlisted for world’s largest literary prize for young writers

BELFAST based author Michael Magee has been longlisted for a prestigious book prize for his debut novel Close to Home.

The book, which tells the story of two working-class brothers in post-Troubles Northern Ireland, has been longlisted for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, it was revealed today.

Magee admits his novel was inspired by his own childhood growing up in west Belfast.

It won the Rooney Prize for Literature 2023 and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize 2023.

Announced this afternoon, the international longlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize features 12 books by writers from across the globe.

With a £20,000 prize pot, it is currently the largest prize available to young writers.

Within the longlist are authors hailing from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, the US, Canada, and Hong Kong.

The selection panel describe Magee’s work, which is one of only two debuts on this year’s list, as a book which “paints an alienating picture of post-conflict Belfast”.

“The fateful actions of one man animate this taut story considering masculinity, class and precarity,” they added.

Michael Magee has been longlisted for his debut novel Close to Home

The longlist features seven novels, three short story collections and two poetry collections, with themes exploring adversity, identity, home and love.

Those titles will now be whittled down to a six-strong shortlist by a panel of judges which is chaired by acclaimed author Namita Gokhale.

She will be joined bt the prize-winning Welsh author and lecturer in Creative Writing at Swansea University, Jon Gower, as well as Rooney Prize 2022 winner and Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Seán Hewitt.

Former BBC Gulf Correspondent and author of Telling Tales: An Oral History of Dubai, Julia Wheeler, and Tice Cin, author of Keeping the House, which was longlisted for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize in 2022, complete the panel.

“Worth £20,000, this global accolade recognises exceptional literary talent aged 39 or under, celebrating the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama,” a spokesperson for Swansea University said.

The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas and celebrates his years of creativity and productivity before his death, aged 39.

“The prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today, nurture the talents of tomorrow, and celebrate international literary excellence,” the University adds.

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist will be announced on Thursday, March 21.

The Winner’s Ceremony will be held in Swansea on Thursday, May 16, following International Dylan Thomas Day on Tuesday, May 14.

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2024 longlist:

A Spell of Good Things by Ayòbámi Adébáyò (Canongate Books) – novel (Nigeria)

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Viking, Penguin Random House UK) – novel (UK/Ghana)

The Glutton by A. K. Blakemore (Granta) – novel (England, UK)

Bright Fear by Mary Jean Chan (Faber & Faber) – poetry collection (Hong Kong)

Penance by Eliza Clark (Faber & Faber) – novel (England, UK)

The Coiled Serpent by Camilla Grudova (Atlantic Books) – short story collection (Canada)

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein (Bloomsbury Publishing UK/Ecco, HarperCollins US) – novel (Trinidad and Tobago)

Local Fires by Joshua Jones (Parthian Books) – short story collection (Wales, UK)

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey (Granta) – novel (US)

Close to Home by Michael Magee (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House UK) – novel (Northern Ireland, UK)

Open Up by Thomas Morris (Faber & Faber) – short story collection (Wales, UK)

Divisible by Itself and One by Kae Tempest (Picador, Pan Macmillan) – poetry collection (England, UK)