Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Zinzi Clemmons, and Omar El Akkad are the three Africans on the Dublin International Literary Award 2019 longlist announced on November 19, 2018.
The Dublin International Literary Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English to promote excellence in world literature. The prize worth €100,000 is sponsored by the Dublin City Council, Ireland. If the winning book is a translation the prize is divided between the writer and the translator, with the writer receiving €75,000 and the translator €25,000. The first award was presented to David Malouf for his novel Remembering Babylon in 1996.
African writers like Scholastique Mukasonga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Mahi Binebine, and Aminatta Forna and Noviolet Bulawayo , Mia Couto, Chinelo Okparanta , and Yewande Omotoso have been in the running. The prize went to Angolan author José Eduardo Agualusa for his novel A General Theory of Oblivion in 2017.
The 2019 Award was launched today by Lord Mayor, Nial Ring, Patron of the Award. He commended the award for its promotion of excellence in world literature as well as for the opportunity to promote Irish writing internationally. ‘Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and cultural tourism is a vital part of the City’s economy’ he said: ‘this prestigious award enhances the city’s worldwide reputation as a literary destination’.
Of the 144 novels announced in the longlist today only three by Africans are in the running for the prize. They are Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons, and American War by Omar El Akkad. There are other books of interest to the reader like A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, and The Golden House by Salman Rushdie.
Those judging the awards are Yan Ge, Martin Middeke, Eilis Ní Dhuibhne, Hans-Christian Oeser, Evie Wyld, and Eugene R. Sullivan who is the non-voting chair of the judging panel.