Four novels from Ireland are among the 49 books nominated by libraries around the world for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, which is sponsored by Dublin City Council. Now in its 26th year, this award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000 to the winner. Nominations include 18 novels in translation with works nominated by libraries from 30 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, the US & Canada, South America and Australia & New Zealand. If the winning book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000.
Speaking about the longlist, Patron of the Award, Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu, commended the Award for its promotion of excellence in world literature and the opportunity it provides to promote Irish writing internationally:
‘Readers each year anticipate the longlist and later the shortlist with keen excitement and interest. This anticipation will be rewarded when I announce the twenty-sixth winner on Thursday, 20th May 2021. As Patron of the Award, I am extremely proud of the DUBLIN Literary Award as it affirms Dublin’s commitment to international writers and translators, to literature and creativity. It’s more important than ever that Dublin City Council does its best to support the Arts in such challenging times and the DUBLIN Literary Award is a huge statement of encouragement and support.’
The DUBLIN Literary Award is managed by Dublin City Council’s library service. Mairead Owens, Dublin City Librarian, announced that the 49 books eligible for the 2021 award were nominated by libraries in 69 cities and 30 countries worldwide; noting that 18 are titles in translation, spanning 10 languages, and 10 books are first novels.
Speaking about how Libraries around the world adapted to the challenges of the pandemic, the City Librarian remarked;
‘Books and reading have sustained the human spirit during this, the Covid-19 pandemic. We escaped with our favourite authors to distant lands, we explored new cultures and we learnt new skills. Librarians are privileged to work in such a rewarding environment. Yes, we faced many challenges over the last year but we have risen to support our communities. Dublin City is appreciative of libraries worldwide for your participation in the 2021 Dublin Literary Award. The Award solidifies the ethos of fostering literacy and a love of reading in our respective local communities and the fact that we work internationally is significant.’
Mairead Owens also welcomed three new nominating libraries: Slemani Public Library in Iraq, South Dublin Libraries in Ireland, and District of Columbia Public Library in USA.
The international panel of judges who will select the winner, features Jan Carson, a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast; David James Karashima, an author, translator, and associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo; Lebanese-born, Dr Rita Sakr who lectures in Postcolonial and Global Literatures at Maynooth University; Dr Martín Veiga, a Cork-based Galician poet, translator, and academic who lectures in Hispanic Studies at University College Cork, and Enda Wyley, an Irish poet, author, and teacher who has published six collections of poetry.
The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.
During Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions, readers can borrow some of the longlisted titles as eBooks and eAudiobooks on the free Borrowbox app, available to all public library users.
All the novels nominated for the Award will be available for readers to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries and from public libraries around Ireland when Libraries reopen.
Full details of the nominated titles, including the name of the library who nominated the book and the reason why they chose the book, can be viewed here, on the website. Enjoy reading these terrific novels, and follow us on the journey to the next winner which will be announced on 20th May 2021!