Books

Esi Edugyan among finalists for $155K International Dublin Literary Award

The prize is given annually to the best work of fiction written in English from anywhere in the world.

The prize is given annually to the best work of fiction written in English from anywhere in the world

Esi Edugyan is a Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist. (Canadian Press, HarperCollins)

Esi Edugyan is the only Canadian among the 10 finalists for the International Dublin Literary Award, an annual €100,000 ($155,458 Cdn) prize that goes to the best work of fiction written in English from anywhere in the world. 

The 10 novels were whittled down from a longlist of 156 books, which included seven Canadian writers.  

Edugyan is a nominee for Washington Black, an epic novel that looks at race and identity from a historical fiction perspective. The book tells the story of 11-year-old Washington "Wash" Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation in the 19th century. 

Washington Black won the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was on the Booker Prize shortlist and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shortlist.

The celebrated Canadian writer talks to Michael about growing up black in Calgary, the legacy of slavery, and what it's like to win (or be nominated for) so many literary prizes. 27:34

Pat Barker, who is from the U.K., is on the shortlist for The Silence of the Girls. The novel is a retelling of The Iliad, reimagined from the point of view of Briseis, the 15-year-old queen who becomes Achilles's captured slave.

The Silence of the Girls was a 2018 finalist for the U.K.'s Costa Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction.

Northern Ireland-based Anna Burns is a finalist for the novel MilkmanMilkman follows a young woman known only as "middle sister." She becomes the target of malicious gossip in her small town when a local paramilitary begins pursuing her, despite her attempts to keep him at bay.

Milkman won the inaugural Orwell Prize for political fiction, the 2018 Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award and landed on shortlists for both the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Rathbones Folio Prize.

American novelist Tommy Orange is a finalist for his debut novel, There There. The novel follows several characters as they all head to Oakland's first Powwow with a range of intentions in mind. Orange is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma.

The 2020 shortlist includes three novels in translation, two male writers, eight female writers and represents authors from Canada, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Poland, the U.K. and the U.S.A.

If the book has been translated, the winning author receives €75,000 ($116,757 Cdn) and the translator receives €25,000 ($38,923 Cdn).

The full shortlist is:

The six-member international jury is comprised of Irish editor and columnist Niall MacMonagle, Scottish author and editor Zoë Strachan, Barcelona-based writer and translator Yannick Garcia, British writer and journalist Cathy Rentzenbrink, Indian-born translator Shreela Ghosh and Dublin-based professor Chris Morash. 

The winner will be announced on Oct. 22, 2020.

The 2019 winner was Idaho by American writer Emily Ruskovich.

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