Who made the 2024 Dublin Literary Award shortlist?

Who made the 2024 Dublin Literary Award shortlist?

Apr 25, 2024Alan Wong

The titles shortlisted for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award have been announced on 26 March. One of these is a novel translated from Romanian to English.

Sponsored by Dublin City Council, this award is the world's biggest annual prize for a work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000 to the winner. For translations, the author gets €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000. Titles are nominated by librarians and readers from libraries worldwide.

"The titles on this year's shortlist were nominated by public libraries in Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Canada and Australia," said the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste. "This award is notable for highlighting authors from around the world while simultaneously celebrating excellence in contemporary literature."

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens, expressed thanks to the nominating libraries. "It's always a pleasure to see the carefully selected shortlist from a longlist of 70 books and as ever we are indebted to the judging panel for their contribution in this regard."

The shortlisted titles for this year are...

Cover of "Old God's Time" by Sebastian Barry Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry
Faber & Faber
Nominated by Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Retired policeman Tom Kettle's idyll in his new home is interrupted when two former colleagues turn up at his door to ask about a decades-old case involving a dead priest. Complicating things is a young mother who asks for his help. Tom's memories of the past return, a past he does not want to remember...

What the Judges Say: "[Sebastian] Barry does something clever here where he elevates the work beyond the confines of its themes into a reading experience that often feels transcendent despite the painful subject matter."

Cover of "Solenoid" by Mircea CărtărescuSolenoid by Mircea Cărtărescu
(Translated from the original Romanian by Sean Cotter)
Deep Vellum
Nominated by Octavian Goga, Cluj County Library, Romania

Solenoid begins with the mundane details of a diarist's life and quickly spirals into a philosophical account of life, history, philosophy, and mathematics. On a broad scale, the novel’s investigations of other universes, dimensions, and timelines reconcile the realms of life and art.

What the Judges Say: "By turns wildly inventive, philosophical, and lyrical, with passages of great beauty, Solenoid is the work of a major European writer who is still relatively little known to English-language readers."

Cover of "Haven" by Emma DonoghueHaven by Emma Donoghue
Nominated by the Toronto Public Library, Canada

In 7th-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream of starting a monastery with two monks on an unknown island, and believes the dream to be a command from God. He eventually assembles his party, which sets foot on a bare island off the coast of southwestern Ireland. But is the venture guided by faith or folly?

What the Judges Say: "The world Emma Donoghue creates in this novel is at once strange and familiar, provoking us to think deeply about the importance of human empathy in navigating our place on this earth."

Cover of "If I Survive You" by Jonathan Escoffery If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
Nominated by the Jamaica Library Service, Jamaica

In the 1970s, political violence in Kingston, Jamaica, force Topper and Sanya to flee to Miami. However, America isn't exactly a welcoming place for immigrants of colour. Nevertheless, the family perseveres, against racism and poverty, driven by the need to survive.

What the Judges Say: "The narrative is vibrant, humorous, snappy and quietly devastating; eight interlinking stories told by various voices, often from an urgent and empathetic second-person point of view, and also in Jamaican dialect, that describe how life keeps knocking the family back in their pursuit of identity and happiness."

Cover of "The Sleeping Car Porter" by Suzette MayrThe Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr
Coach House Books
Nominated by the Vancouver Public Library, Canada

As a Black man in 1929, Baxter is considered lucky to have a job as a porter on a train that criss-crosses the continent. On one trip, the train is stranded and Baxter has to deal with the passengers, who become more unruly with every passing day. Sleep-deprived, the porter's hallucinations begin to mesh with the goings-on in the train...

What the Judges Say: "Written in a concise yet evocative style, this slim novel combines the epic scope of history with the lift and verve of ghost stories and queer narrative, creating a quietly propulsive read that at the same time takes stock of an entire life in the space of a single train voyage."

Cover of "Praiseworthy" by Alexis WrightPraiseworthy by Alexis Wright
Giramondo Publishing
Nominated by The National Library of Australia, Australia

The story of an Aboriginal family in a small fictional Australian town depicts the struggles of the Aboriginals in Australia after years of colonisation and the gradual erosion of their culture and values. What fate awaits this family's patriarch, his wife and two sons?

What the Judges Say: "This modernist more-than-an-allegory about a pernicious haze that settles over a northern Australia town yokes a painfully contemporary tale of political, social and climatic disaster to a narrative consciousness embodying 65,000 years of aboriginal survival."

The judging panel, chaired by Prof. Chris Morash, will pick the winner, which will be announced by the Patron of the Award, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, on Thursday, 23 May, during the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Regrettably, Aishah Zainal's novel, Hades, didn't make the cut, but the other nominees are pretty formidable. Nevertheless, we invite you to check out Hades and let us know what you think.

Congratulations to the authors who made the shortlist. Let's see who takes the prize this year.

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