2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award Longlist announced


7 Irish novels are among 147 titles that have been nominated by 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.  Nominations include 43 novels in translation with works by 43 American, 23 British, 14 Canadian, 10 Australian, 5 New Zealander and 4 Dutch authors.

Organised by Dublin City Council, the 2017 Award was launched today [21st November] by Lord Mayor, Brendan Carr, Patron of the Award, who praised the International DUBLIN Literary Award for its promotion of excellence in world literature as well as for the opportunity to promote Irish writing internationally. “Like every year”, he said, “readers will find new books and new authors through the Award, and they can pit themselves against the international panel of judges and pick their own favourite novel, before I announce the winner on 21st June next year”.

The award promotes Dublin internationally as a literary destination, as Juan Pablo Villalobos (2016 judging panel) remarked “Dublin is a very literary city and for me as a Mexican writer I was very, very happy to be invited to be a judge because it’s the city of Samuel Beckett, one of my literary heroes, and of James Joyce of course. Obviously world wide Dublin is known as a literary city and I think that this prize is becoming every year more and more important.”

The Irish titles nominated for 2017 are:  

The Blue Guitar by John Banville

Beatlebone  by Kevin Barry

Spill Simmer Falter Wither  by Sara Baume

The Green Road  by Anne Enright

The Little Red Chairs  by Edna O’Brien

Miss Emily  by Nuala O’Connor

Asking For It  by Louise O’Neill

The International DUBLIN Literary Award (formerly known as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award) is managed by Dublin City Council’s library service. Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian, announced that the 147 books eligible for the 2017 award were nominated by libraries in 109 cities and 40 countries worldwide; noting that 43 are titles in translation, spanning 19 languages and 30 are first novels.

Speaking of the global interest in the Award, the City Librarian remarked “This great prize demonstrates Dublin’s international support for contemporary writers and gives tangible expression to Dublin as A City of Words, an active member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, a UNESCO City of Literature. It also brings readers together in an unparalleled international book club connected through their local public libraries”.

The 2017 Judging Panel comprises Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Prof of Irish Writing and Vice Provost of Trinity College Dublin; Ellah Allfrey, OBE, critic, broadcaster and editor; Katy Derbyshire, translator, critic and essayist; Kapka Kassabova, poet, novelist and writer and Jaume Subirana, writer, critic and translator. The non-voting Chairperson is Eugene R. Sullivan.

Other novels nominated for the 2017 Award include The Sellout by Paul Beatty, winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize; A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, winner of the 2015 Costa Prize; The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Hope Farm by Peggy Frew, Salt Creek by Lucy Treleor and The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, finalists for the 2016 Miles Franklin Award.

Among the 43 translated books are novels originally published in Arabic, Bulgarian, Icelandic, Kannada, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Slovene and Turkish. Translated authors include Milan Kundera, Mia Couto and Isabel Allende. As in previous years, translated titles comprise almost one third of the longlist – 29%.

The book that received most nominations this year is Kate Atkinson’s  A God in Ruins, chosen by 9 libraries in Australia, Canada, England, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland and Spain.

All of the novels nominated for the Award are available for readers to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries. The full list of 146 titles is available on www.dublinliteraryaward.ie.  The shortlist will be published on 11thApril 2017 and the Lord Mayor will announce the winner on 21st June.

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is a Dublin City Council initiative.

Notes for Editors:

The award promotes Dublin internationally as a literary destination, as Juan Pablo Villalobos (2016 judging panel) remarked “Dublin is a very literary city and for me as a Mexican writer I was very, very happy to be invited to be a judge because it’s the city of Samuel Beckett, one of my literary heroes, and of James Joyce of course. Obviously world wide Dublin is known as a literary city and I think that this prize is becoming every year more and more important.”

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English. Nominations are made by library systems in major cities throughout the world. Established in 1994 in partnership with the company IMPAC, the Award is now wholly funded by Dublin City Council. The Award aims to promote excellence in world literature. Designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, Dublin’s literary heritage is a significant driver of cultural tourism for the City.

The Irish titles were nominated by:

  • The Blue Guitar by John Banville, nominated by Milwaukee Public Library, USA
  • Beatlebone by Kevin Barry, nominated by Galway County Library, Ireland
  • Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume, nominated by Dublin City Libraries, Limerick City & County Libraries, Waterford City & County Libraries, Ireland; Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Switzerland; Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand
  • The Green Road by Anne Enright, nominated by Dublin City Libraries, Ireland; Edinburgh City Libraries, Scotland; Veria Central Public Library, Greece and Milwaukee Public Library, USA
  • The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien, nominated by The Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, USA
  • Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor, nominated by Galway County Library, Ireland
  • Asking for It by Louise O’Neill nominated by Waterford City & County Libraries, Ireland

2017 Judging Panel

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE is an independent critic, broadcaster and editor and is currently Visiting Professor at Goshen College, Indiana. She is the editor of Safe House: Explorations in Creative Non-fiction (Cassava Republic, 2016) and Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury, 2014). The former Deputy Editor of Granta magazine, she sits on the boards of Art for Amnesty, the Caine Prize for African Writing and the Writers’ Centre Norwich. She is patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature and served as a judge for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Her journalism has appeared in the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Spectator and the Observer and she has been a regular contributor to the book pages of NPR in the USA.

Katy Derbyshire was born in London and has lived in Berlin for the past twenty years. She translates contemporary German writers, including previously Dublin Literary Award longlisted Simon Urban and Helene Hegemann along with Inka Parei, Clemens Meyer, Jan Brandt, Felicitas Hoppe and many others. She writes occasional criticism and essays in English and German, published by Lithub, The Quarterly Conversation, Music & Literature, New Books in German and Der Tagesspiegel. Katy co-hosts a monthly literary translation lab in Berlin and has taught translation in London, Leipzig, New York, New Delhi and Norwich.

Kapka Kassabova is a poet, novelist, and writer of travel and history. Her travel memoirs are Street Without a Name (2008) and Twelve Minutes of Love, a tango story (2011). Born and raised in Bulgaria, she moved with her family to New Zealand in the early 1990s, where she published her first fiction and poetry. She now lives in the Highlands of Scotland. She has written for the Guardian, Vogue, and 1843 magazine. Her latest book is Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (2017).

Professor Chris Morash became the inaugural Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin in 2014 and was recently appointed as the Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer of Trinity College Dublin.  He has written books on Irish theatre history, Irish media history and Irish famine literature.  Prior to his appointment to Trinity, Chris Morash worked in Maynooth University. He was the first chair of the Compliance Committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (2009-2014), and has been a Member of the Royal Irish Academy since 2007.

Jaume Subirana was born and lives in Barcelona. He is a writer, critic and translator who has published both prose and poetry (he has won the most prestigious Catalan awards: Carles Riba in 1988 and recently the Gabriel Ferrater), and has also written and edited books on Barcelona and Catalan culture. He served as director of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, and is a member of PEN Català. Associate Professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, he has been Visiting Professor at UBC, Brown University and Ca’ Foscari-Venezia. He regularly updates his blog Flux.

Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, non-voting chair of the judging panel, is a former Chief Judge of a US Court of Appeals and brings a wealth of experience from sixteen years on the bench. His first novel, The Majority Rules, was published in 2005.  His second novel of his political thriller trilogy; The Report to the Judiciary, was published in 2008. When not recalled to the Federal Bench, Judge Sullivan is a partner in a Washington law firm.

Previous International DUBLIN Literary Award winners:

  • 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)