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Nigerian Fiction Writer, Arinze Ifeakandu, Wins 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize

Nigerian Fiction Writer, Arinze Ifeakandu, Wins 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize

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Ifeakandu edged out five contestants to clinch the prestigious award.

By Helena Olori

Nigerian writer, Arinze Ifeakandu, has been named the winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2023 for his ‘exhilarating’ debut short story collection, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, securing the remarkable £20,000 prize award.

Reacting to the win, the fiction writer said “it feels amazing…the joy that came when my name was called was topnotch.”

The renowned literary award, now in its 17th year, recognises exceptional young writers under the age of 39, and celebrates a diverse range of fiction genres, encompassing poetry, novels, short stories, and drama. The Dylan Thomas Prize is a tribute to the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Marlais Thomas, who passed away at the age of 39 in November 1953. This year marks the 70th anniversary of his death.

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“We were unanimous in our praise and admiration of this exhilarating collection of nine stories,” said the Chair of Judges, Di Speirs, who described Arinze’s debut work as “bold, refreshing, and exacting” at the prize winner announcement ceremony held in Swansea on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

“A kaleidoscopic reflection of queer life and love in Nigeria, depicting the constraints, the dangers, and the humanity, this is a collection that we wanted to press into many readers’ hands around the world and which left us excited to see what Arinze Ifeakandu will write next,” added Speirs.

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God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, comprising nine fictional stories, explores the intricacies of queer male relationships in contemporary Nigeria.

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Arinze Ifeakandu, shortlisted alongside five outstanding writers who competed for this year’s Dylan Thomas Prize Awards, joins an illustrious list of past recipients of this prestigious Prize, including Raven Leilani, Bryan Washington, Guy Gunaratne, Kayo Chingonyi, Fiona McFarlane, and Max Porter.

The 28-year-old author’s debut book, God’s Children Are Little Broken Things, published by Orion, Weidenfeld & Nicolson also won The Short Story Prize Spotlight Award earlier this year.

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