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Ireland’s writers are an asset to reputation-building abroad says the man who’s in pole position to know – Daniel Mulhall, our Ambassador to Washington, who talks to City of Books about how by a host of world class authors act as a cultural bridge.

From Joyce to Heaney, as well as a crop of well-regarded current writers such as Sally Rooney, he finds their work is a calling card. During an Indian posting, he discovered his hosts – the Gandhis – could recite Yeats’ poetry word for word.

Ambassador Mulhall has won a following for his daily tweets showcasing Irish or Irish-American poets. Wherever he goes in the US an interest in Irish culture is evident, he tells the City of Books podcast, hosted by novelist and journalist Martina Devlin.

Elsewhere in the episode, Professor Chris Morash of Trinity College Dublin gives a rundown of the 10 books shortlisted for the prestigious Dublin International Literary Award worth €100,000.

The selection is eclectic and includes books in translation, plus one Irish writer this year – Anna Burns for Milkman. Libraries worldwide nominate books popular with their readers, which means the prize allows lesser-known books to rise to the top, according to Professor Morash. He is non-voting chair of the judging panel, which made its choice from more than 150 books.

Other contenders are Silence of the Girls by UK writer Pat Barker, There There by Tommy Orange, a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, and Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead by Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk.

The winner will be announced on October 22 as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFD).


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