Dublin Literary Award longlist: four Irish in running but Demon Copperhead leads field

Sebastian Barry, Joseph O’Connor, Claire Kilroy and Emma Donoghue up for €100,000 prize

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction, has emerged as the early favourite for this year’s €100,000 Dublin Literary Award after the novel received four nominations from libraries worldwide.

Inspired by the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, it is similarly about a boy who experiences poverty but set in modern-day Appalachia in the midst of the opioid crisis.

Novels by four Irish authors are also among the 70 books nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries for the award, which is sponsored by Dublin City Council. Celebrating excellence in world literature and now in its 29th year, this award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English.

Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry was nominated by Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main; My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor by Cork City Libraries; Soldier, Sailor by Claire Kilroy by Dublin City Libraries; and Haven by Emma Donoghue by Toronto Public Library.


In order to be eligible for consideration, a novel must have been first published in English between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023 and, if a translation, first published in a language other than English between July 2013 and June 2023. Booker Prize winner Prophet Song by Paul Lynch was therefore not eligible but Booker-shortlisted The Bee Sting by Paul Murray, a critical and commercial success, has been surprisingly overlooked.

Other fancied titles, which received two nominations each, include Birnam Wood by Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton; The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey; Limberlost by Robbie Arnott; Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin; A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt; The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon; and Booker Prize shortlisted This Other Eden by Paul Harding. New Zealand author Chidgey was also nominated for her novel Pet.

Among the 31 translated books are novels originally published in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Translated authors include Burhan Sönmez (Turkish), Antoine Laurain (French), Elvira Lindo (Spanish), Victoria Kielland (Norwegian), Mircea Cărtărescu (Romanian), Ann-Helén Laestadius (Swedish) and Mia Couto (Portuguese), and translators include Irishman Frank Wynne, translator of Santiago H Amigorena’s The Ghetto Within; Louise Rogers Lalaurie who is double-nominated, Donald Winkler and Megan McDowell. If the winning book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000.

The shortlist will be unveiled on March 26th and the winner will be announced by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, on May 23rd, as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin, which is also funded by Dublin City Council.

Speaking at the launch of the longlist, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Patron of the Award, said “This year’s longlist is an eclectic mix of world literature taking the reader on a journey through different cultures and traditions and highlights the importance of our shared literary imagination and the power of the written word.”

The judges who will select the shortlist and winner are Irenosen Okojie, a Nigerian British author; Daniel Medin, a professor of comparative literature at the American University of Paris; Lucy Collins, an Associate Professor at University College Dublin; Anton Hur, a Korean author and translator who was double-longlisted and shortlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize; and Ingunn Snædal, an Icelandic poet, translator, literary editor and teacher. The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

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Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle

Martin Doyle is Books Editor of The Irish Times