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Dublin City Council announces the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award Shortlist


6 books on the shortlist of the 2021 Dublin Literary Award,

the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction


Shortlisted titles:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

 Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

 Apeirogon by Colum McCann

 Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

 On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong  

 The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead


Thursday 25th March 2021: 6 novels have been shortlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, sponsored by Dublin City Council. Celebrating 26 years, this award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000 to the winner. If the book has been translated the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000.  Distinctive among literary prizes, nominations are chosen by librarians and readers from a network of libraries around the world.

The 2021 Award winner will be chosen from a diverse and international shortlist which includes a novel in translation, an English language debut and a first-time novelist. The Shortlist features three women and three men who come from Ireland, Mexico, the UK and the USA.

The 26th winner of the Dublin Literary Award will be announced by its Patron, Lord Mayor Hazel Chu on Thursday 20th May, as part of the opening day programme of International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFDublin), which is also funded by Dublin City Council. Following their partnership with ILFDublin in August 2020, the DUBLIN Literary Award has moved the winner announcement permanently to May, to coincide with the festival.


The shortlisted titles are:

  1. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (British). Published by Hamish Hamilton Ltd. and Penguin Books Ltd. Nominated by libraries in Berlin, Germany and Waterford, Ireland.
  2.  Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Mexican). Published by Alfred A. Knopf and 4th Estate. Nominated by Vila de Gràcia Library, Barcelona, Spain.
  3. Apeirogon by Colum McCann (Irish). Published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Nominated by South Dublin Libraries, Ireland.
  4. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Mexican). Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes. Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. Nominated by libraries in Canada, Mexico, and the USA.
  5. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong  (Vietnamese-American). Published by Jonathan Cape and Vintage. Nominated by libraries in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA.
  6. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (American). Published by Little Brown Book Group and Doubleday. Nominated by libraries in Belgium, and the USA.

Patron of the Award, Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu, praised the Award for breaking down barriers through literature by inviting readers around the world to read books translated from different languages, and cultures:

‘I am so excited about our Literary Award again this year. Literature time and again has one objective, and that is to explore the human condition, teaching us something new about others, and ourselves. These are powerful and timely stories set in both familiar and unfamiliar countries and cultures. I urge everyone to read as many of these thought-provoking books as you can. Readers have plenty of time to pick their own favourite between now and 20th May – Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu.


The novels on this year’s shortlist were nominated by public libraries in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA, and the authors come from Ireland, Mexico, the UK and the USA.


The international panel of judges who will select the winner, features Jan Carson, a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast; David James Karashima, an author, translator, and associate professor of creative writing at Waseda University in Tokyo; Lebanese-born, Dr Rita Sakr who lectures in Postcolonial and Global Literatures at Maynooth University; Dr Martín Veiga, a Cork-based Galician poet, translator, and academic who lectures in Hispanic Studies at University College Cork, and Enda Wyley, an Irish poet, author, and teacher who has published six collections of poetry.

The non-voting Chairperson is Professor Chris Morash, the Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College Dublin.


Podcast Series

In the lead up to the winner announcement, and to enhance the reading experience of the Shortlist, the DUBLIN Literary Award website and social media channels will share 6 short films featuring well-known Irish actors performing short excerpts from the shortlisted novels. In association with their partner, International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFDublin), a special Shortlist podcast series has been commissioned which will be hosted by Maeve Higgins, bestselling Irish writer, comedian, podcaster and contributing writer for The New York Times, and Jessica Traynor, Irish writer, dramaturg and creative writing teacher.  Maeve Higgins and Jessica Traynor will take listeners inside the shortlisted novels and speak exclusively to the authors and translator in contention for the award.


During Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions, readers can borrow most of the shortlisted titles as eBooks and eAudiobooks on the free Borrowbox app, available to all public library users.


All the novels nominated for the Award, including the shortlisted books, will be available for readers to borrow from Dublin City Libraries and from public libraries around Ireland when Libraries reopen. The shortlist can be viewed on the Award website at


Key Dates

The six member international judging panel, chaired by Prof. Chris Morash, will select one winner, which will be announced by the Patron of the Award, Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu on Thursday 20th May during the International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFDublin) which runs from the 20th to the 30th May 2021.

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