7 Irish authors on (very) long list for €100K Dublin book prize

Colson Whitehead’s 'The Underground Railroad' gets most nominations for literary award

Books by seven Irish authors are among 150 titles on the longlist for the €100,000 International DUBLIN Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English.

The Irish titles nominated for 2018 are: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, The Years That Followed by Catherine Dunne, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear MacBride, Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent and All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan.

The longlist for the award, formerly known as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, is chosen by libraries in 37 countries. The book which received most nominations this year, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, was chosen by 15 libraries. Days Without End was nominated by libraries in Cork, Galway and Nottingham.

Both titles have already been garlanded elsewhere. Last April Whitehead won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: nine months ago, Barry took the Costa Book of the Year for 2016. Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones was the Irish Book of the Year 2016 and another Dublin 2018 contender, Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, was announced as the winner of the Canadian Governor General’s award for fiction as long ago as October 2016.


A shortlist of 10 books will be published in April and the winning novel will be announced on June 13th, 2018. The judging panel includes the poet Vona Groarke, the novelist Xiaolu Guo and the translator Nicky Harman. If the winning novel was originally published in a language other than English, the prize will be divided between author (€75,000) and translator (€25,000).

Last year’s winner was José Eduardo Agualusa for A General Theory of Oblivion, translated by Daniel Hahn.

Among the titles on the capacious 2018 Dublin longlist are Annie Proulx’s Barkskins, Juan Gabriel Vasquez’s Reputations, Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, Julian Barnes’s The Noise of Time, Margaret Drabble’s The Flood Rises, Ian McEwan’s Nutshell, Emma Cline’s The Girls, David Szalay’s All That Man Is, Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton, Javier Marias’s Thus Bad Begins, Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata and Hermann Koch’s Dear Mr M.

Alongside these obviously literary contenders are page-turning crime novels such as the 11th instalment of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series, The Other Side of Silence; a comic debut about life with an autistic 11-year-old – Jem Lester’s Shtum – and the third volume in Namita Gokhale’s historical trilogy of books on the Himalayas, Things To Leave Behind. Some 32 per cent of the nominees are works in translation, among them Han Kang’s harrowing study of the Gwangjiu uprising in South Korea, Human Acts, and Tommy Wieringa’s forensic dissection of a marital breakup, A Beautiful Young Wife. Many, such as Kevin Jared Hoseyn’s The Repenters, set in a children’s home in Trinidad, and Angela Slatter’s Brisbane-set urban fantasy Vigil will almost certainly be new to Irish readers.

Then again, at 150 titles this is the second lengthiest longlist in literary history – the 2016 Dublin longlist weighed in at a whopping 160 books. The Man Booker longlist consists of a mere 13 titles each year, while the Australian Miles Franklin award is just a listicle at nine books. The Pulitzers choose one winner from three finalists, the Governor General’s awards one from four.

If the idea of the Dublin list is to encourage Irish readers to widen their fictional horizons – every title on the list is available to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries – it poses quite a challenge. Anyone who sets out to consume the 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist in its entirety will need to get through nearly three books a week to complete the task before the 2019 longlist appears this time next year.