Caleb Azumah Nelson Wins Swansea University’s Dylan Thomas Prize

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British-Ghanaian writer and photographer, Caleb Azumah Nelson has been unveiled as the winner of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, for his novel Small Worlds published  by Viking, Penguin Random House UK with an award worth £20,000 in prize money.

Judged by Namita Gokhale, Indian writer and editor, she says:

Amid a hugely impressive shortlist that showcased a breadth of genres and exciting new voices, we were unanimous in our praise for this viscerally moving, heartfelt novel. There is a musicality to Caleb Azumah Nelson’s writing, in a book equally designed to be read quietly and listened aloud. Images and ideas recur to beautiful effect, lending the symphonic nature of Small Worlds an anthemic quality, where the reader feels swept away by deeply realised characters as they traverse between Ghana and South London, trying to find some semblance of a home”.

Small Worlds shows the beauty of the space people hold in the world, and the space we make for them in ours. The narrator, Stephen, a young Black Englishman whose parents came to London from Ghana, is not passive, but not exactly an action man either. There’s a languid quality to his life as he ambles around Peckham, a South London neighbourhood that was once down at heel and is now up-and-coming. It explores family love, parental love, brotherly love, romantic love; ultimately, the love of knowing and being known. 

In his words of appreciation, Azumah Nelson says:

“I’m deeply grateful to be acknowledged for the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize. I want to thank my editor Isabel Wall who guided me not just as a writer but as a person. My agent, Seren Adams who changed my life, and is not just my agent, but family. My mum, dad, brother and sister this is for them  and my partner, who shows me what love is. And to the other shortlisted authors  I’m grateful to be on a list with you and your astounding work”

Named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, the annual Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the most prestigious awards for young writers, aimed at encouraging raw creative talent worldwide. It is one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes as well as one of the world’s largest literary prizes for young writers. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama.

Caleb Azumah Nelson is a 26-year-old British-Ghanaian writer and photographer living in south-east London. He was recently shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and the BBC National Short Story Prize 2020, and won the People’s Choice prize.

For more information on the prize winner, kindly click here

Congratulations Nelson!


Bakare Oluwatobiloba

I write to educate, motivate and define history with literature. Just being me!