Debut novelist wins £ 20,000 Dylan Thomas Award for No One Is Talking About This | Books

American novelist, poet and essayist Patricia Lockwood has won the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize of £ 20,000 for her “seeping witty and innovative bid for modern internet culture”.

The award, which is given to Lockwood for her debut novel No One Is Talking About This, is awarded to a writer aged 39 or under, and is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers.

Nobody Talks About This focuses on an unnamed narrator as she deals with fame on social media and a life lived on a Twitter-like platform called the “portal”.

Nobody talks about this by Patricia Lockwood.
Nobody talks about this by Patricia Lockwood. Photo: Bloomsbury

President of the judges for the award, author and festival director Namita Gokhale, described Lockwood as an “amazing and completely original new voice”. She added: “A very timely winner, Patricia Lockwood is the voice of a generation of new writers who grew up under the constant pressure of real-time news and social media.”

Gokhale, co-founder and director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said the book was “a fiery witty and innovative take on modern internet culture and the experience of family trauma in the modern world”.

The novel is divided into two parts, and Gokhale called the book’s flow of consciousness “almost diary-like in quality.” This, she said, meant that it was “remarkably deft to capture the psychological impact that at the same time alienation and ‘group thinking’ life online has on us as individuals”.

Judge colleague Irenosen Okojie called No One Is Talking About This “a timely, absurdist marvel of a book” that was “sharp, intellectually deft and full of wisdom”.

The other judges were author and former winner of the award, Rachel Trezise, ​​novelist Alan Bilton and poet Luke Kennard.

Lockwood, co-editor of the London Review of Books, was the only debut novelist to appear on the Booker Prize shortlist in 2021, and No One Is Talking About This was also nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

She is the author of two collections of poems, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandssexuals and a recognized memoir Priestdaddy, about moving back to her parents and counting on her religious upbringing.

The other books nominated for the award were A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, Auguries of a Minor God by Nidhi Zak / Aria Eipe, The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris, Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson and Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor .

Past winners of the award include Raven Leilani, Bryan Washington, Guy Gunaratne, Kayo Chingonyi, Fiona McFarlane and Max Porter.

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