International Dylan Thomas prize worth £30,000 was bagged by Fiona McFarlane for her “deliciously unsettling” short story collection, The High Places. Authors Sarah Moss and Prajwal Parajuly, poet Kurt Heinzelman and the BBC’s head of audio drama, Alison Hindell included the panlof judges which declared the winner.
Chair of judges Prof Dai Smith said there were “echoes of Thomas’s work” in her range. “Her stories range from the surreal to quizzical, tales of naturalism and domestic tragedies, with some of them being very funny indeed,” he added.
McFarlane’s 13 stories analyse the spectrum of emotional life, with moments of uneasy anticipation, domestic contentment and ominous desperation.
This is the third short story collection to win the prize, which is for the best work of English-language literary fiction – poetry, drama or prose – by a writer of 39 or under.
The award was won in the past by Max Porter, Joshua Ferris and Maggie Shipstead.