Solar Bones by Mike McCormack wins the 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award

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Literary Award logoIrish author Mike McCormack has won the 2018 International DUBLIN Literary Award for his novel Solar Bones. The Award is organised and sponsored by Dublin City Council and at €100,000 is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English. Mike McCormack is the fourth Irish author to win the prize in its 23-year history.

Uniquely, the Award receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognises both writers and translators. The winner was nominated by Galway Libraries and by Nottingham Libraries

Who is Mike McCormack?

Mike McCormack

Mike McCormack is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from County Mayo, Ireland.

In 1996 he was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and in 2007 he was awarded a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. In 2016 he won the Goldsmiths Prize and the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for best novel for Solar Bones.

He was elected to Aosdána in May 2018. He currently lives in Galway, Ireland.


About Solar Bones

Solar Bones


The winning novel was chosen from a total of 150 titles, nominated by libraries in 111 cities across 37 countries.  It was first published in by Tramp Press, an independent Irish publisher founded by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen.

Once a year, on All Souls’ Day, it is said in Ireland that the dead may return. Solar Bones is the story of one such visit. Marcus Conway, a middle-aged engineer, turns up one afternoon at his kitchen table and considers the events that took him away and then brought him home again. Funny and strange, McCormack’s ambitious and other-worldly novel plays with form and defies convention. This profound new work is by one of Ireland’s most important contemporary novelists. A beautiful and haunting elegy, this story of order and chaos, love and loss captures how minor decisions ripple into waves and test our integrity every day.

The judging panel described the book as "a novel of extraordinary assurance and scope" and went on to say that "By times sharp and critical; by others, surprisingly tender and alert, Marcus’s narrative voice collates a lifetime’s worth of experience into an account that neither glamourises its consolations, nor reneges upon its failings and shortcomings. 

The novel’s seamless structure gives it a beautifully fluid pace. An extremely enjoyable read, it is also poignant, moving and evocative. Although firmly committed to its particular Mayo setting, this is a novel of universal appeal: if you know Ireland, you will recognise this world; but if you don’t, you will still recognise Marcus Conway, a rich and (literally!) haunting character who brings a whole world to life.

This is such a unique and unusual book that we feel the author deserves recognition. The novel is written in a single sentence which could have felt like a literary gimmick but instead comes across as really accomplished storytelling. In addition to his distinctive technique McCormack also brilliantly describes the area in which the book is set, making it a powerful element in the book".

Where can I get a copy?

Copies of the winner, the shortlist and the full list of novels nominated for the 2018 award are available to borrow from Dublin Public libraries. You can borrow print and audio versions from your local library or check out an ebook version online or from your mobile device.

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