Two Irish writers shortlisted for Dublin Literary Award

Women outnumber men for first time at the top international literary award with one of the richest literary prizes in the world worth €100,000

 Eimear McBride is among the  hometown favourites with  The Lesser Bohemians. Photograph:  Eric Luke

Eimear McBride is among the hometown favourites with The Lesser Bohemians. Photograph: Eric Luke

Since its inception in 1996, the International Dublin Literary Award has championed novels from around the world, often ignoring the work of mainstream writers for those whose books maybe less familiar to English-speaking readers.

It has been less good, however, at recognising female writers. While the all-male shortlists of ’07 and ’09 were shameful, it seems ridiculous that the prize has been won only twice by women, Herta Müller in 1998 and Nicola Barker in 2000. The judges of 2018 have, intentionally or not, redressed this balance by selecting a shortlist of six women and four men. While one should always choose the best books rather than trying to satisfy a quota – I was a judge myself in 2011 so understand how complex the task can be – one would hope that future panels will also recognise the importance of equal representation.

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