Increasing the international reach of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize on its 15th anniversary

To create an innovative, targeted, five-month-long campaign that continues to raise the international profile of the prize as the most distinguished and aspirational literary prize for young writers; reflecting its legacy, celebrating past winners and promoting a future of diverse voices and writers from across the world.

The Work

It was our third year working with the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize, this year we needed to take the university’s centenary and the 15th year of the prize into consideration.

We worked closely with the Prize’s team to ensure the longlist’s live announcement at Jaipur Literature Festival was used to secure coverage with media in India. We continued this strategy throughout the Prize’s campaign, securing 20 pieces of coverage including multiple news stories in the Times of India.

We adopted a staggered strategy, with the creation of a month-long blog tour for the announced longlist. Over 80 bloggers took part, building awareness and intrigue ahead of the shortlist announcement.

Once the shortlist was announced we capitalised on the dominance of U.S writers on it (and the subsequent winner), securing 13 pieces of coverage in the USA.

Given the nature of the international pandemic and subsequent lockdown, our teams worked closely with Prize’s team to pivot the live events and winner’s ceremony to digital. To ensure maximum digital and social interaction, we secured partnerships with bookshops, Blackwell Books, London Review of Books and Gay’s The Word as well as support from Waterstones and Foyles, who promoted the results of the prize across their social networks and in their newsletters.

Finally, honorary fellow of Swansea University, Michael Sheen, helped us to secure the release news of the winner via the Press Association newswire, resulting in eight regional newspapers running the story

The Results

Our campaign secured over 184 pieces of coverage across the UK, India and U.S. comprising of 13 national, 18 trade, four broadcast, 27 digital, 11 regional and 104 bloggers. The winner’s announcement in The India Times reached 11.8 million people, alone.

The support and partnerships of seven bookshops, including news of the winner running in their newsletters which were sent out to combined total of approximately 500K subscribers.