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Four Irish authors on longlist for prestigious €100k Dublin Literary Award

Previous winners include Anna Burns for Milkman, and Mike McCormack for Solar Bones.

THE LONGLIST FOR this year’s Dublin Literary Award have been announced – and four Irish novels are on the list. 

There are 49 books in total on the longlist, which have been nominated by libraries around the world for the award, which is sponsored by Dublin City Council.

The €100,000 award – which is in its 26th year – is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English. If the winning book has been translated, the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000. 

Previous winners include Anna Burns for Milkman, and Mike McCormack for Solar Bones. 

This year’s nominations include 18 novels in translation, with works nominated by libraries from 30 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, the US and Canada, South America and Australia and New Zealand.

The Irish titles nominated for the 2021 Award are:

  • When all is Said by Anne Griffin. Published by Hodder and Stoughton and nominated by Łódź Public Library, Poland
  • Apeirogon by Colum McCann. Published by Bloomsbury and nominated by South Dublin Libraries, Ireland
  • Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor. Published by Harvill Secker and nominated by Municipal Library of Genève, Switzerland
  • The Trumpet Shall Sound by Eibhear Walshe. Published by Sommerville Press and nominated by Cork City Libraries, Ireland

The book that received the most nominations for 2021 is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Vietnamese-American author Ocean Vuong.

Two books share the second-most nominated slot: Hurricane Season by Mexican author Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes, and The Nickel Boys by American author Colson Whitehead.

The shortlist will be announced on 25 March 2021 and the winner will be announced by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, on 20 May 2021, as part of the opening day programme of International Literature Festival Dublin, which is also funded by Dublin City Council.

Lord Mayor Chu commented: “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 award is managed by Dublin City Council’s library service. Mairead Owens, Dublin City Librarian, said that the 49 books eligible for the 2021 award were nominated by libraries in 69 cities and 30 countries worldwide.

Added Owens: “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.”

This year there are three new nominating libraries: Slemani Public Library in Iraq, South Dublin Libraries in Ireland, and District of Columbia Public Library in USA.

An international panel of judges will select the winner. The panel 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, who is the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

Want to get your hands on the nominated books? They’ll be available for readers to borrow from Dublin’s public libraries and public libraries around Ireland when libraries reopen.

But don’t worry – during Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions, you can borrow some of the longlisted titles as eBooks and eAudiobooks on the free Borrowbox app, which is available to all public library users.

The longlist of 49 titles can be viewed on the award website at

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