Irish Novelist Takes Major Prize for Young Writers

Up against competition that included debut novels by Benjamin Hale, who recently won the Bard Fiction Prize, and Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht, Irish author Lucy Caldwell won this year's Dylan Thomas Prize for her second novel, The Meeting Point (Faber and Faber, 2011). The author, born in 1981, whose first book, Where They Were Missed (Viking, 2006), was shortlisted for the award in 2006, received a prize of thirty thousand pounds (approximately $47,700).

"The Meeting Point is a lyrical modern day parable set in Bahrain depicting the crises in the faith and marriage of an Irish woman, and her relationship with a troubled Muslim teenager," judge and prize founder Peter Stead said of Caldwell's novel, the Guardian reported. "It is a beautifully written and mature reflection on identity, loyalty, and belief in a complex world. We have no doubt that this is yet another significant step in what will undoubtedly be a striking career."

Also shortlisted for the 2011 award, given annually for a work of poetry or fiction by a writer age thirty or younger, were poet Jacob McArthur Mooney and debut novelist Annabel Pitcher. Stead was joined on the judging panel by Peter Florence, director of the Hay Festival, poets Kurt Heinzelman and Mererid Hopwood, fiction writer and inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize winner Rachel Trezise, and cultural broadcasters Kim Howells and Allison Pearson.

In the video below, Caldwell reads from her winning book at San Francisco's Litquake festival last month.