Nigerian writer Arinze Ifeakandu has won the 2023 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers. The winning work was his debut short story collection celebrating queer love in Nigeria titled God’s Children Are Little Broken Things (2022).
The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize was launched in 2006 with the aim of celebrating and nurturing international literary excellence. It is named after the Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas and is awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under.
Ifeakandu was awarded the £20,000 prize at a ceremony held in Swansea on Thursday, May 11. The chair of judges Di Speirs remarked about Ifeakandu’s winning book:
We were unanimous in our praise and admiration for this exhilarating collection of nine stories. Arinze Ifeakandu’s debut shines with maturity, the writing bold, refreshing and exacting but never afraid to linger and to allow characters and situations to develop and change, so that the longer stories are almost novels in themselves. A kaleidoscopic reflection of queer life and love in Nigeria, 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 know what Arinze Ifeakandu will write next.
By winning the prize, Ifeakandu managed to beat the other shortlisted writers Warsan Shite for Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head, Robbie Arnott for Limberlost, Sara Baume for Seven Steeples, Sheena Patel for I’m a Fan, and Saba Sams for Send Nudes.
Congrats to Ifeakandu on the well-deserved win!