Author Bryan Washington has won the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut book, the short story collection Lot.

The annual award, which is given to “the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under,” comes with a cash prize of about $36,600.

Dai Smith, who led the judging panel for the award, said, “Bryan Washington’s collection of short stories, Lot, does what all great fiction does, finds a style that can open up a world that is otherwise unknowable and he does it with wit and grace...As one of the judges said, he has a kickass voice.”

Lot is a collection of stories set in various Houston neighborhoods, with many sharing the same narrator, a young, gay biracial man. A reviewer for Kirkus called the book “a promising, and at times powerful, debut that explores the nuances of race, class, and sexuality with considerable aplomb.”

Five other books were shortlisted for the award, including Téa Obreht’s Inland and Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

The Dylan Thomas Prize was established in 2006. Previous winners have included Max Porter for Grief Is the Thing With Feathers and Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.