2020 Longlist

Woman at Sea


Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter

2020 Longlist

Lili is a runaway. She’s left behind her native France to go in search of freedom, of adventure, of life. Her search takes her to Kodiak, Alaska, home to a ragtag community of fishermen, army vets and drifters who man the island’s fishing fleet. Despite her tiny frame, faltering English and lack of experience, Lili lands a job on board the Rebel, the only woman on the boat.

Out on the open sea, everything is heightened: colours are more vivid, sounds are louder and the work is harder than anything she’s ever known. The terrifying intensity of the ocean is addictive to the point of danger. But Lili is not alone: in her fellow crew members she finds kindred spirits, men living on the edge, drawn to extremes.

About the Author

Catherine Poulain has lived on the road and on the sea for most of her life working in fish farms in Iceland, on farms in Canada, in bars in Hong Kong, in naval shipyards in the US. She spent ten years fishing in Alaska before returning to her native France. Woman at Sea is her first novel.

Librarian’s Comments

A young French woman travels the America. She finally ends in Alsaka and works on at boat. She meets another fisherman. It is a great novel of adventure and travel. Bibliothèque municipale de Colmar, France


THE AUTHOR Catherine


Jonathan Cape


Stay in touch and sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates on the Dublin Literary Award.