Congratulations to Dai Smith, longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017 for All That Lies Beneath/What I Know I Cannot Say.
The list of 40 books includes well established authors such as Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Susan Hill (The Woman in Black) and Helen Oyeyemi (Boy, Snow, Bird) as well as up-and-coming writers. The winner, to be announced at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, will receive a £10,000 prize.
The Prize is the only UK-based award that recognizes excellence in a published short story collection and will also include a £1,000 Reader’s Choice award to a writer from the shortlist, and a further category for stories by Edge Hill University MA Creative Writing students.
This year’s judges are Thomas Morris (finalist, Edge Hill Prize 2016), Cathy Galvin (Director and Founder, The Word Factory) and Dr Rodge Glass (Reader in Literary Fiction, Edge Hill University).
The shortlist will be announced by 30th June with awards to be presented at a special event as part of Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.
About the book:
In What I Know I Cannot Say / All That Lies Beneath, Dai Smith combines a novella and a linked section of short stories to create a dazzling fictional synthesis that takes the reader on a tour of the South Wales Valleys during the twentieth century.
Picking up where his 2013 novel Dream On left off, What I Know I Cannot Say follows the life story of Billy’s father, Dai Maddox. When Billy’s former partner Bran shows up wanting to record Dai’s life story to put together a documentary, Dai looks back on his past, remembering his childhood as a destitute orphan, his work as a collier in the mines and the subsequent drifting between menial jobs, alleviated only by reading and drawing; his enrolment in the British Army and participation in the invasion of Italy during the Second World War; and post-war life under socialism, when he was back in the pits and married to Billy’s mother, Mona. Moving from the heyday of the pre-mechanised coal industry to the present day, What I Know I Cannot Say presents a moving and vivid panorama of twentieth-century Wales, brought to life by Smith’s meticulous attention to historical detail and a distinct gift of invoking the smells, sights, and sounds of the past. We find ourselves smelling the cordite of ammunition among the ruins of Cassino in 1943, during the invasion of Italy; the damp coal in the mineshafts; the beer-soaked wood of pub floors; the smell of fresh coffee from a modern percolator. Dai’s journey is emotional and moving, told in gritty, realistic prose.
All That Lies Beneath is white-knuckle fiction ride: power, sex, money, and ambition all twist through the pages as Smith creates a feast of intellectual and physical provocation in stories that send a shudder of fearful recognition directly through to the reader.
Dai Smith is a renowned historian, academic, broadcaster and prolific writer on the arts and cultural issues. He taught History at the universities of Lancaster, Swansea, and Cardiff and was awarded a Personal Chair by the University of Wales in 1986. In 1993, Dai joined the BBC as Editor of Radio Wales, and from 1994 to 2000 he was Head of Broadcast at BBC Wales. He is currently Head of the Arts Council of Wales and Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. He has published much non-fiction about the history, culture, and literature of his native South Wales, and one other novel, Dream On (Parthian, 2013), which is a prequel to What I Know I Cannot Say. He is also the editor of the Library of Wales series. Dai currently lives on Barry Island, where he is writing more fiction.