Maggie Shipstead Takes Home Dylan Thomas Prize For Debut Novel
Californian author Maggie Shipstead has won the prestigious Dylan Thomas prize for her debut novel, Seating Arrangements, according to Guardian Books.
Allison Pearson, one of the contest’s judges, predicted that the 28-year-old novelist would win a Pulitzer before the age of 50.
"At the age of 28, Maggie Shipstead has imagined herself inside the head of a 59-year-old male in the grip of an erotic infatuation,” said Pearson, as quoted by the news source. “This is territory that has been covered by the greats of American fiction, including John Updike and Jane Smiley. Maggie Shipstead doesn't just follow in their footsteps; she beats a distinctive and dazzling path of her own. The world has found a remarkable, humane new voice to explain us to ourselves."
Shipstead completed the first draft of Seating Arrangements in around nine months while living in Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts. The story examines the pervasive social pretensions of a fictional island in New England, and focuses on the tale of Winn Van Meter, a dominant patriarch preparing for his daughter’s wedding.
A former student of renowned author Zadie Smith, Shipstead earned her MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She said that the £30,000 prize “wouldn’t go amiss,” and that she didn’t think she stood a chance of winning the prestigious award.
Have you read the novel? What did you think?
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