Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan and The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak received the most nominations from among the 70 books nominated by 84 libraries in 31 countries for the 2023 Dublin Literary Award. Now in its 28th year, the award, which is sponsored by Dublin City Council, is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000 to the winner.
Keegan, winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, was nominated by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries Dublin, Galway Public Libraries, Waterford City and County Library, in Ireland, and Chicago Public Library, United States. Shafak, who was previously shortlisted for the Women’s Prize and Costa Novel Award, also received four nominations while Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus received three. The two other Irish titles nominated for the award are 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard and The Magician by Colm Tóibín.
Among the 29 novels in translation nominated is Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth, who together won the International Booker Prize in 2019 for Celestial Bodies. If the winning book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000. Translated authors include Reem Bassiouney (Arabic), Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgarian), Thorvald Steen (Norwegian), Johka Alharthi (Arabic), Sang Young Park (Korean), Geetanjali Shree (Hindi) and Yoko Tawada (Japanese), and translators include Roger Allen, Marilyn Booth, Sophie Hughes, Anton Hur, Daisy Rockwell and Sam Taylor.
“This year’s Dublin Literary Award longlist is a fascinating chain of stories unifying readers across cultures and countries, more relevant now than ever before,” the Lord Mayor said. “I encourage you to drop into your local library to explore the list over the next few months, it not only rewards the reader but also has the power to transform you too.”
The international panel of judges features Gabriel Gbadamosi, an Irish and Nigerian poet, playwright and critic based in London; Marie Hermet, who teaches creative writing and translation at the Université Paris Cité; author Sarah Moss, who teaches creative writing at UCD; poet and essayist Doireann Ní Ghríofa; and translator Arunava Sinha. The non-voting chairperson is Prof Chris Morash, the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.
The award is for novels first published in English between July 2021 and June 30th, 2022. If translated into English, they must first have been published in a language other than English within the previous decade.
The shortlist will be unveiled on March 28th and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Caroline Conroy, the award’s patron, will announce the winner on May 25th, as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, which Dublin City Council also funds.
Last year’s winner was The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter, translated from French by Frank Wynne. The last Irish winner was Milkman by Anna Burns in 2020.