Stephen Sexton shortlisted for £30,000 Dylan Thomas Prize

A preview of tomorrow’s book pages

Stephen Sexton: lives in Belfast where he teaches at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. Photograph: Michael Weir

Stephen Sexton has been shortlisted for the £30,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut collection If All the World and Love Were Young, along with Jay Bernard, Téa Obreht, Mary Jean Chan, Ocean Vuong, Téa Obreht and Bryan Washington. The winner will be announced on May 14th.

Last month, the American Academy of Arts and Letters honoured Sexton with the EM Forster Award, a $10,000 prize for an outstanding young writer from Ireland or the United Kingdom. The poet lives in Belfast where he teaches at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.

Nobber by Oisín Fagan (John Murray) has been longlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize for debuts. Among the judges is Sineád Gleeson.

When All is Said by Anne Griffin, Love Notes from a German Building Site by Adrian Duncan, Paris Syndrome by Lucy Sweeney Byrne and Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery have been shortlisted for the £5,000 John McGahern Annual Book Prize. An overall winner will be decided by author and University of Liverpool Chancellor, Colm Tóibín, on July 15th.


The American Conference for Irish Studies has awarded Brendan O’Lesry the James S Donnelly Snr Prize for his A Treatise on Northern Ireland, Vols I-III, published by Oxford University Press.

The West Cork Literary Festival, which was due to take place from July 10th to 17th, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Cúirt International Festival of Literature will present a digital festival, to be broadcast online, entirely free of charge, from April 23rd to 25th.

A new Kevin Barry short story collection is to be published by Canongate on October 29th. That Old Country Music is promised to feature "A ragbag of West of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. An Ireland in great flux but where older rhythms, an older magic, somehow persist."

In tomorrow's books pages, Mark O’Connell talks with Peter Murphy about his painfully timely new book Notes from an Apocalpyse and Anne Tyler discusses life and her new fiction Redhead by the Side of the Road with Sarah Gilmartin.

Reviews include Gary Gannon on Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus Deaton; John Self on Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin; Tony Clayton-Lea on the best new music books; Niamh Donnelly on A Sabbatical in Leipzig by Adrian Duncan; Mihir Bose on Alistair Shearer’s The Story of Yoga; Paul McVeigh on Love after Love by Ingrid Persaud; Claire Hennessy on the best new YA fiction; and Sarah Gilmartin on Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan.