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Two Indian women authors longlisted for UK's coveted literary prize

Madhuri Vijay's The Far Field and Meena Kandasamy's Exquisite Cadavers are longlisted for this year's Dylan Thomas Prize. They feature among the seven novels, three poetry books, and two short story collections longlisted for the prize. Considered one of UK's most prestigious literary prizes, it is worth 30,000 pounds.

Madhuri Vijay (Image credits: Tanvi Rao) and Meena Kandasamy (Image credits: Teri Pingelly)

Madhuri's debut novel, published in January last year, is about Shalini, a 30-year-old woman from a well-to-do family in Bengaluru who is mourning the death of her mother. A quest for a memory of her childhood takes her from the Silicon Valley in South India to the troubled frontiers in Kashmir. A story about grief and search, the first time novelist has bagged several awards for her novel including the JCB Prize for Literature, Tata Literature Live First Book Award and Crossword Book Award.

Meena Kandasamy’s book is an innovative tale that fuses fiction and reality as it follows the life of a London couple - Maya and Tunisian filmmaker Karim. She intersperses their life with the political horrors that take place in India. 

The Swansea University’s prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms, including poetry, novels, short stories and drama. Described as the world’s largest Literary Prize for young writers, the Dylan Thomas prize is awarded to English literary work written by an author below the age of 39.

“This year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist combines a rich, international collection of young, experimental writers who are offering platforms for under-represented voices and exploring pressing social and world themes across identity, culture and power,” says the longlist announcement.

The award is named after the Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas. "One of the most influential, internationally-renowned writers of the mid-twentieth century, the prize invokes his memory to support the writers of today and nurture the talents of tomorrow," the prize committee said in a statement.

The other longlisted books include Surge by Jay Bernard, Fleche by Mary Jean Chan, Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan, Black Car Burning by Helen Mort, Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich, Inland by Tea Obreht, Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler, If All the World and Love were Young by Stephen Sexton, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, and Lot by Bryan Washington.

The shortlist will be announced on April 7, and the winner will be declared on May 14 at Swansea University''s Great Hall. 

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)

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