International Dublin Literary Award: 10 Irish books on 2019 longlist

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid leads nominations for world’s most valuable literary prize

A collage of the 141 longlisted titles

A collage of the 141 longlisted titles

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Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty and The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne are the two Irish titles to have received the most nominations (six) from libraries worldwide 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. Last year’s winner was Mike McCormack for Solar Bones.

Exit West by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, his second novel to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize after The Reluctant Fundamentalist, received the most nominations overall (11). It was followed by two Man Booker Prize-winning authors, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by India’s Arundhati Roy and Lincoln in the Bardo by US writer George Saunders (both nine); Go, Went, Gone by Germany’s Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky, and US National Book Award winner Sing Unburied Sing by US writer Jesmyn Ward (both eight); and Reservoir 13 by Costa Novel Award winner English author Jon McGregor (six), a previous winner of the Dublin award in 2012 for Even the Dogs.

Erpenbeck was shortlisted in 2016 for the International Dublin Literary Award for The End of Days, which also won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Organised by Dublin City Council, the 2019 award was launched today by its patron, Lord Mayor Nial Ring, who commended it for its promotion of excellence in world literature as well as for the opportunity to promote Irish writing internationally. “Dublin is a Unesco City of Literature, and cultural tourism is a vital part of the city’s economy,” he said. “This prestigious award enhances the city’s worldwide reputation as a literary destination.”

Nominations include 39 novels in translation with works by authors from 41 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, the US, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

The 10 Irish authors on the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award longlist
The 10 Irish authors on the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award longlist

There are eight other Irish novels among the (very) long list of 141 titles: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney; Mrs Osmond by John Banville; A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume; Smile by Roddy Doyle; The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney; The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan; Ithaca by Alan McMonagle; and Acts of Allegiance by Peter Cunningham

Mike McCormack said on winning the 2018 prize: “It speaks something generous, eloquent and enquiring that Dublin City Council for so many years have put their resources, their weight, all their expertise behind this prize. It has huge international standing, it has a unique reach and a unique generosity and long may it live, it’s one of the shining jewels in this country’s crown.”

Brendan Teeling, acting Dublin City Librarian, revealed that the 141 books eligible for the 2019 award were nominated by libraries in 115 cities and 41 countries worldwide; noting that 39 are titles in translation, spanning 16 languages and 48 are first novels.

Other novels nominated for the award include: the 2017 Costa First Novel Award winner Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; In the Distance by Hernan Díaz, finalist of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser, winner of the 2018 Miles Franklin Award; and, perhaps most strikingly, Darker by EL James, the second part of the popular erotic trilogy, for whose nominatation we are indebted to the National Library Service of Bridgetown, Barbados.

Among the 39 translated books are novels originally published in Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Korean, Maori, Serbian and Slovene. Translated authors include Fredrik Backman, Jean Echenoz, Peter Stamm, Maria Duenas, Zoran Zivkovic and Han Yujoo.

This year’s judges are Irish writer Éilís Ní Dhuibhne; Martin Middeke, professor of English at the University of Augsburg; translator, editor and travel writer Hans Christian Oeser; novelist and bookseller Evie Wyld; and Chinese writer Yan Ge. The non-voting chairperson is Eugene R Sullivan.

All of the novels nominated for the award are available for readers to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries. The shortlist will be revealed on April 4th, 2019 and the winner will be announced on June 12th.

Previous winners

  • 2018: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Irish)
  • 2017: A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angolan), translated by Daniel Hahn
  • 2016: Family Life by Akhil Sharma (American)
  • 2015: Harvest by Jim Crace (British)
  • 2014: The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombian), translated by Anne McLean
  • 2013: City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (Irish)
  • 2012: Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (British)
  • 2011: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Irish)
  • 2010: The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (Dutch), translated by David Colmer
  • 2009: Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (American)
  • 2008: De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (Lebanese / Canadian)
  • 2007: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Norwegian), translated by Anne Born
  • 2006: The Master by Colm Toibín (Irish)
  • 2005: The Known World by Edward P. Jones (American)
  • 2004: This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun (Moroccan) translated by Linda Coverdale
  • 2003: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish) translated by Erdag M. Göknar
  • 2002: Atomised by Michel Houellebecq (French), translated by Frank Wynne
  • 2001: No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (Canadian)
  • 2000: Wide Open by Nicola Barker (English)
  • 1999: Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller (English)
  • 1998: The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller (Romanian), translated from German by Michael Hofmann
  • 1997: A Heart So White by Javier Marías (Spanish), translated by Margaret Jull Costa
  • 1996: Remembering Babylon by David Malouf (Australian)
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