Photos sourced from Instagram.

Nigerian writer Ayòbámi Adébáyò and British-Ghanaian writer Caleb Azumah Nelson have been shortlisted for the 2024 Dylan Thomas Prize. Congratulations to the well-deserving duo!

Launched in 2006, the annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize is aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide and is worth £20,000.

Adébáyọ̀ was selected for her novel A Spell of Good Things, which unveils a dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession and political corruption. Nelson was selected for his novel Small Worlds, which is set over the course of three summers from South London to Ghana and back again, exploring the intimate worlds a father and son build for themselves, live, dance and love within.

The 2024 shortlist of six writers was selected by a judging panel chaired by Namita Gokhale, alongside Jon Gower, Seán Hewitt, Julia Wheeler, and Tice Cin. Wheeler remarked that Adébáyò’s novel is a crucial look into Nigerian society:

A Spell of Good Things by Ayòbámi Adébáyò takes us deep into the layers of Nigeria’s divided society to create a compelling and at times heartbreaking novel. Weaving social mores and destructive politics, the personal and the national are entwined to leave skillfully drawn characters wondering, what next?

Tice Cin said that Small Worlds by Nelson is a musical masterpiece of a novel:

In this deeply loving and rhythmically moving novel, we meet Stephen and his own small worlds, those lives that are ever-present in our orbiting. Paying close attention to a loneliness that comes with the no man’s land of being hurtled from one’s safe place, Azumah Nelson conveys elsewhereness as a solace, resting into the hand outreached that brings us home, the afterblooms of our grief, and the music of community.

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Her debut novel, Stay With Me, won the 9mobile Prize for Literature, was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, the Wellcome Book Prize and the Kwani? Manuscript Prize. It has been translated into twenty languages and the French translation was awarded the Prix Les Afriques. It was also longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award.

Caleb Azumah Nelson is a British-Ghanaian writer and photographer living in South East London. His debut novel, Open Water, won the Costa First Novel Award and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, Waterstones Book of the Year, and longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize. His second novel, Small Worlds, was shortlisted for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

Congrats to Nelson and Adébáyọ̀! The winner will be announced on May 16.