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Milan UNESCO City of Literature are delighted to announce their first International Residency programme.

It is open to three types of residents – a publisher, a bookseller and a librarian. 

The residency period is from 9 to 19 March 2020 and the deadline for applications is 19th January 2020.





Reykjavík – Gröndal’s House UNESCO Cities of Literature Residency

2020 Residency Dedicated to Children’s Literature

In October 2020, we offer the residency for a children’s fiction writer in association with Mýrin – the Reykjavík International Children’s Literature Festival. A call for applications has now been opened. 


Reykjavík, a UNESCO City of Literature since 2011, offers a one month residency for a visiting writer from another UNESCO City of Literature. The 2020 offer is open to published children’s fiction writers from, or affiliated with, any of the other 38 Cities of Literature, writing in any genre.


This residency will be a one month stay for one writer from October 1 – 31, 2020.


Writers from or with strong ties to any of the 38 other UNESCO Cities of Literature can apply. The applicant must have published at least one work of fiction for children or teenagers (poetry, prose, play or screenwriting). Writers of all ages, gender, nationalities and languages can apply as long as the affiliation with a UNESCO City of Literature is strong.



2020 International Dublin Literary Award Longlist Announced

                                                        2020 International DUBLIN Literary Award announced

Eight novels from Ireland are among 156 books nominated by libraries around the world for the 2020 International DUBLIN Literary Award. With the winner receiving €100,000, the Award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English. Nominations include 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. Details of all the longlisted books

Organised by Dublin City Council, the 2020 Award was launched 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 Irish titles nominated for the 2020 Award are:  

  • A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
  • Milkman by Anna Burns
  • The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly
  • Begotten Not Made by Cónal Creedon
  • Orchid and the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes
  • Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
  • Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney


The International DUBLIN Literary Award is managed by Dublin City Council’s library service. Mairead Owens, Dublin City Librarian, announced that the 156 books eligible for the 2020 award were nominated by libraries in 119 cities and 40 countries worldwide; noting that 50 are titles in translation, spanning 21 languages and 51 books are first novels. More details at 

Speaking of the global interest in the Award, the City Librarian Mairead Owens remarked;

“This great prize affirms Dublin’s commitment to international writers and translators, to literature and creativity. Through this award Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, brings the worldwide community of readers together to read the works of contemporary writers from all corners of the world.”


11 New Cities of Literature Join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature wishes to extend the warmest of welcomes to the following 11 new Cities of Literature who joined our Network in November 2020:

  • Angoulême (France)
  • Beirut (Lebanon)
  • Exeter (United Kingdom)
  • Kuhmo (Finland)
  • Lahore (Pakistan)
  • Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
  • Nanjing (China)
  • Odessa (Ukraine)
  • Slemani (Iraq)
  • Wonju (Republic of Korea)
  • Wrocław (Poland)

The member cities that form part of the Network come from all continents and regions with different income levels and populations. They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We look forward to celebrating and showcasing stories from the 11 newly designated UNESCO Cities of Literature. The UNESCO Cities of Literature is a leading collaborative network of 39 cities with a shared goal to develop and promote the role of literature and creativity in our cities. It brings together a wide range of cultural professionals to share and inspire each other, strengthen exchanges, promote freedom of speech and further develop frameworks for collaboration in key areas.  

Boot Shane Hegarty is 2020 Citywide Reading Choice

We are delighted to announce Boot by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle, as the 2020 Citywide Reading for Children choice. This fun story about a robot who wakes up in a rubbish dump with only two-and-a-half memories, is suitable for boys and girls aged 7-10 years.

The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with Hachette Childrens Books, and runs from January to March 2020. The aim of the initiative is to encourage children to read for pleasure.

“I am thrilled and honoured that Boot has been chosen as the 2020 Citywide Read. Growing up a Dubliner, my local libraries fed my imagination from a very early age, sending me on adventures in space and time every time I walked through their doors. As a writer I see the magic readers still find in libraries. I’m really looking forward to inventing exotic robots, telling tall tales and sharing the adventure with today’s young Dubliners.” says Shane Hegarty.

There will be author visits to many Dublin City Libraries branches as well as city-centre based events to promote the campaign.

Multiple copies of the book will be available in all Dublin City Libraries as well as in all good bookshops.  Children can borrow the book in any library across the country. The project is funded by Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The Book

Boot follows the adventure of a robot who wakes up in a rubbish tip and, with only two-and-a-half memories and a gang of new robot friends, sets off to find its owner. It was recently shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award in the UK and the second book in the series will be published in February 2020.

The Author

Shane Hegarty was born and raised in Skerries, Dublin, where he still lives. His bestselling Darkmouth series, about a reluctant monster hunter and the strange town he lives in, has been translated into over a dozen languages and a major animated film is in the works. 

The Illustrator

Ben Mantle has been working as a Children’s Book Illustrator since 2008 from his shared studio in Brighton. He illustrated ‘Callum’s Incredible Construction Kit’ which won the Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book prize 2013.

Teachers Guide and Activities

Boot Teacher Notes

Boot Activity Booklet


Key Events 

  • Author visits to Dublin City Library branches between January and March. Class visits booked locally at branch libraries.
  • Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1. Thursday 20th February, 11am-12.15pm Robot-themed illustration workshop with Frances Coghlan along with reading and chat with author Shane Hegarty. Suitable for 5-10 year olds. Parents stay with their children for this workshop. Free, no booking required although numbers may be limited.
  • The National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Monday 24th February at 12pm Author visit with Shane Hegarty. Suitable for up to two classes (2nd or 3rd)  Contact Bríd O’Sullivan
  • World Book Day event with author Shane Hegarty and illustrator Ben Mantle Thursday 5th March, 10.30am, Liberty Hall Dublin. Free. 400 children will have the chance to see how Boot was created with storytelling, readings and illustration. To book a class in for this event contact
  • St Patrick’s Festival Monday March 16th between 12 and 3pm Final event of the campaign in Festival Village, Merrion Square. Dublin City Libraries Citywide Read will take over the Festival Village Big Top where author Shane Hegarty will deliver a series of readings from Boot in the unique surrounds of a circus marquee. Shane will be joined by artist Jane Groves who will curate a robot-making laboratory encouraging children and families to put their inventor skills to the test.  Families will also have an opportunity to recreate the world and characters of Boot with the help of local Irish Illustrators. Learn to communicate with robots by creating your own robot language using nanotron synthesiser in the Robot Sounds Studio created by Dabbledoo Music, who will create a robot themed interactive play resource.



Iris Murdoch: Philosophy by Postcard


Join An Post and In Parenthesis to celebrate Iris Murdoch’s philosophy, literature, and love of letter-writing by participating in an international #SlowPhilosophy exchange: #PhilosophybyPostcard.

Between July and September 2019 you are invited to send a postcard to Iris Murdoch at Blessington Street, Dublin.  100 postcards received will be selected and sent on to 100 waiting philosophers from around the globe. You will receive a reply to your postcard from a philosopher, written on a specially commissioned artist-designed postcard complete with a commemorative Murdoch stamp. Philosophy by Postcard was inspired by the postcard exchange between Elizabeth Anscombe and Sir Anthony Kenny, held in the Collegium Institute archive at University of Philidelphia.

Send your question for a philosopher to:
Iris Murdoch – Blessington Street
An Post
PO Box 1919
Dublin 1
* Freepost is only applicable to mail sent from within Ireland.
It’s Freepost in Ireland to send a postcard to Iris, but you can also collect the stamp!

For more information see

Prague UNESCO City of Literature Writers‘ Residencies 2020

Prague, our sister UNESCO City of Literature, are launching their 2020 Writers Residency and want to hear from Irish writers!

Prague City of Literature offers residency stays for foreign writers and translators.

There are six residencies available for 2020, each lasting two months. Prague City of Literature reimburses the resident for a return ticket, provides accommodation for free and a stipend of 600 euro per month.

For more information continue to:…-conditions/


Idaho by Emily Ruskinovich wins the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award

      Idaho by Emily Ruskovich wins the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award

Debut novelist claims €100,000 prize

American author Emily Ruskovich has won the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award for her novel Idaho. 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. Emily Ruskovich is the fourth American author to win the prize in its 24-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 announced at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House which was livestreamed on the International DUBLIN Literary Award Facebook page to allow people from across the world to tune in to the event.

Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, on Hoodoo Mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story and the Virginia Quarterly Review. A winner of a 2015 O. Henry Award and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she now teaches creative writing in the M.F.A. programme at Boise State University. She lives in Idaho City with her husband and baby daughter.  The winning novel was chosen from a total of 141 titles, nominated by libraries in 115 cities across 41 countries.  It was first published by Chatto & Windus in the UK and by Random House in the USA.

Commenting on her win, Emily Ruskovich said; ‘I cannot express how grateful I am to be the recipient of this astonishingly generous award. It is difficult to know how to respond to the magnitude of this kindness that has been so suddenly bestowed upon me. I feel shocked. I feel humbled. I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of my gratitude. I am especially honoured because of the admiration that I feel for the other finalists, authors from all over the world who are all doing such crucial and beautiful work. Seeing my name beside theirs when the shortlist was announced—that alone was one of the greatest honours of my career.

About Idaho; One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade the father, does the stacking. The two daughters June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time. But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

Speaking at the winner announcement, newly elected Lord Mayor & Patron of the Award, Paul Mc Auliffe, remarked; ‘The International DUBLIN Literary Award is a great Dublin success and an even greater international success, our thanks go to all who are involved in making the Award work – writers, translators, publishers, librarians, and the administrative staff of the City Council.’

The prize money was presented by Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of the Award’s founders and sponsors, Dublin City Council. The Award is a key part of the City’s work in promoting Dublin as a UNESCO City of Literature, and as a great place for people to live, work in, and visit.

The 2019 judging panel, which includes Irish author Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, commented:

‘At the heart of Emily Ruskovich’s haunting debut novel is the inexplicable. A young couple, Jenny and Wade, move from the prairies to the utter loneliness and unexpected isolation of the Northern Idaho mountains where they carelessly bought a piece of wooded land on a steep mountainside. As yet, they know nothing about the winter that will entrap them:  masses of snow, no plow, no neighbours, the next settlement eight miles away. This is not an idyll. Years go by. They build a house with their own hands; two children are born – May and June. Then, all of a sudden, in a brutal flash, with no warning, their happiness and their love are destroyed forever.’

Ruskovich’s masterful achievement is to narrate with consummate skill the complex series of events covering a time-span of more than fifty years. Empathy and love stand next to cruelty and crime. Individual guilt, trauma and pain are looming as large as eventual forgiveness and the ability to live in half-knowledge. Ultimately, Idaho evolves into a masterpiece on the redeeming and regenerative potential of music, poetry, literature and art.’ (full citation below)

The other judges were Ge Yan, Evie Wyld, Martin Middeke and Hans-Christian Oeser. The non-voting chair was Judge Eugene Sullivan.

Idaho was nominated by the public library in Brugge, Belgium, who commented:

‘This special debut novel is a real gem because of the atmosphere as well as the special structure of the novel. Ann Mitchell and her husband Wade live on a woody mountain in Idaho. We know from the beginning that the ex-wife is in prison and the two daughters are dead or missing. It’s difficult to unravel the mystery because Wade suffers from a kind of dementia. What had happened and why? Emily Ruskovich leaves bread crumbs by means of different stories. It’s nice to zig zag through time in a world of multiple truths. Toward the end the stories become shorter and supported by the long descriptions of the lonely, sinister and misty landscape.’

Idaho was chosen from a shortlist of 10 novels from France, Ireland, Pakistan, the UK and the USA. One of the novels, Compass by Mathias Énard, was translated from French by Charlotte Mandell.

Copies of the winning novel, the shortlisted books and the full list of novels nominated for the 2019 award are available to borrow from Dublin Public libraries. More details on the award at

Iris Murdoch Centenary

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch, there will be a series of events in Dublin this summer. Dublin City Council will unveil a plaque in Blessington Street, where Iris Murdoch lived, An Post will issue a special stamp and there will be a Philosophy by Postcard campaign. There will also be an exhibition of Iris Murdoch’s books and letters in Phibsboro Library. 

On Wednesday 26th June, Niall McMonagle will discuss Iris Murdoch, her life, her work and his friendship with her. Actor Cathy Belton will read from selected Murdoch works.

Venue: The Castle Hotel, Great Denmark St, Dublin 1. Time: 7.30pm

Admission is free. All are welcome. No booking required.

Phibsboro Library Exhibition

First editions of Iris Murdoch’s books along with correspondence and newspaper articles curated by Niall MacMonagle during the month of July. Free admission. No booking.

Opening Hours:
Monday and Wednesday 12.45pm-4pm. and 4.45pm -8pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm

Screening of Iris at IFI, Eustace St, Temple Bar.

Monday 15th July, 6.30pm

Musician and Iris Murdoch fan Finghin Collins will introduce the screening of the 2001 biographical drama, that tells the story of Irish-born novelist Dame Iris Murdoch and her relationship with John Bayley. Starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet. Tickets from the booking office or at

Philosophy By Postcard

To celebrate the centenary of Murdoch  An Post are issuing a beautiful commemorative stamp on 15th July 2019.
Join An Post and In Parenthesis to celebrate Murdoch’s philosophy, literature, and love of letter-writing by participating in an international #SlowPhilosophy exchange: #PhilosophybyPostcard

Between July and September 2019 you are invited to send a postcard to Iris Murdoch at Blessington Street, Dublin. The postal address will be released on 15th July 2019. 100 postcards received will be selected and sent on to 100 waiting philosophers from around the globe. You will receive a reply to your postcard from a philosopher, written on a specially commissioned artist-designed postcard complete with a commemorative Murdoch stamp. Philosophy by Postcard was inspired by the postcard exchange between Elizabeth Anscombe and Sir Anthony Kenny, held in the Collegium Institute archive at University of Philidelphia.

For more information see