Dublin International Literary Award 2020 longlist

There are eleven novelists from across Africa on Dublin International Literary Award 2020 longlist announced on Monday, November 11, 2019.

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, sponsored by the Dublin City Council, Ireland, is the richest prize for one work in or translated into English. 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.

African writers like Scholastique Mukasonga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Mahi Binebine, 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.

For 2020, 156 books were nominated by libraries around the world including 50 novels in translation with works nominated by libraries from 40 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, the US & Canada, South America, and Australia & New Zealand.

It was launched today by Cllr. Mary Fitzpatrick, representing Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe, Patron of the Award. Cllr. Fitzpatrick commended the Award for its promotion of excellence in world literature and the opportunity it provides to promote Irish writing internationally; “I am very pleased that Dublin City Council continues to support this significant international award. Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and the Council is committed to further developing the City’s worldwide reputation as a literary destination, a key part of our cultural tourism offering.”

The 2020 international Judging Panel comprises Irish editor and columnist, Niall MacMonagle; Scottish author and editor Zoë Strachan; Yannick Garcia, a Catalan writer and translator based in Barcelona; Cathy Rentzenbrink, a Sunday Times top ten bestseller of the year writer; and Indian-born translator and champion of the novel, Shreela Ghosh. The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

The African writers in the running for the prize this year are

  • Gaël Faye, Small Country, Hogarth Press, Translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone
  • Leïla Slimani , Lullaby, Translated from the French by Sam Taylor
  • Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater, Grove/Atlantic Inc.
  • Esi Edugyan, Washington Black, Serpents Tail Ltd.
  • Ondjaki, Transparent City, Translated from the Portuguese by Stephen Henighan
  • Oyinkan Braithwaite, My Sister the Serial Killer, Doubleday
  • Uzodinma Iweala, Speak No Evil, HarperCollins USA
  • Mia Couto, Woman of the Ashes, Farrar, Straus & Giroux Translated from the Portuguese by David Brookshaw,
  • Nozizwe Cynthia Jele, The Ones With Purpose, Kwela Books
  • Ijangolet S Ogwang, An Image in a Mirror, Jacana
  • Sue Nyathi, The Gold Diggers, Pan Macmillan SA

The shortlist will be announced on April 2, 2020, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin will announce the winner on June 10, 2020.

Update: An earlier version of this blog stated that there were nine African writers longlisted in the prize. While we own the error of omitting some of the writers who are now included, the announcement of the Dublin International Literary Prize 2020 longlist is quite hard to use. We hope in future the prize would consider also doing a list of the winners and their nationalities like has been done in previous years.