At an event to unveil the judges for this year’s prestigious literary competition at Hay Festival last night it was announced that Rachel Trezise, the first winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize, is to join this year’s judging panel.
Literary luminaries gathered for a champagne reception in Richard Booth’s famous Bookshop in the Town of Books to hear readings by two of the three former winners of the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize — US poet Elyse Fenton, who won the £30,000 prize last year for Clamor, her debut collection of 21st century war poetry; and Rachel Trezise from Rhondda, the 2006 winner of the competition for her gritty collection of short stories Fresh Apples.
Peter Florence, creator and director of the Hay Festival and of the international programme of Hay Festivals, is to continue to chair the international panel of judges. He will also be joined by literary scholar Kurt Heinzelman, who is Professor of English at the University of Texas; Dr Mererid Hopwood, a National Eisteddfod Bardic Chair winner and who is also an acclaimed poet, linguist, academic and TV presenter; and Dr Kim Howells, former Pontypridd MP and Foreign Office Minister.
Also on the panel will be the Daily Telegraph columnist and novelist Allison Pearson; and broadcaster, columnist and former history lecturer Professor Peter Stead.
Commenting on the event, Peter Stead, who is also the Prize chairman, said:
“Elyse’s was an astonishing, fully accomplished book of huge ambition and spectacular delivery and we were delighted to discover this new poetic talent, while Rachel’s collection was exceptional and focused the eyes of the world on the brilliance of Welsh writers.
“The excellence of their work is beyond question and stands out as examples of what the University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize is about – wonderfully evocative writing that the great man himself would have been proud to produce.
“I’m sure that this year’s entries will match up to the standards set by their predecessors, and the panel is really looking forward to seeing what the latest batch of young writers have created.”
The £30,000 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded to the best eligible published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author under 30 years of age. The competition is open to authors from around the world and the winner will be announced at the final awards ceremony in Swansea on November 9.
More info: www.dylanthomasprize.com