Thomas King's Indians on Vacation among 8 Canadian books longlisted for $143K DUBLIN Literary Award

Books by Francesca Ekwuyasi, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Rachel Cusk are on the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award longlist, an international fiction prize featuring 79 books from around the world.
Thomas King is a Canadian American author of Cherokee and Greek heritage. (Trina Koster/Canadian Press)

Thomas King's novel Indians on Vacationwinner of the 2021 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, is among 79 titles from around the world longlisted for the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award. 

The annual prize awards €100,000 ($142,793 Cdn) to the year's best work of English-language fiction, making it one of the largest prizes of its kind. The award is sponsored by Dublin City Council. 

There are eight Canadian books on the 2022 longlist:

The longlist of 79 books also includes Klara and The Sun by British writer and Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2021 International Booker Prize winner At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop and translated by Anna Moschovakis, Transcendent Kingdom by award-winning Ghanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi and No One is Talking About This by Booker-shortlisted author Patricia Lockwood.

Books on the the longlist were nominated by 94 libraries from 40 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Seven Canadian library systems took part: Vancouver Public Library, Winnipeg Public Library, Bibliothèque de Québec, Ottawa Public Library, St. John's Public Libraries, Cape Breton Regional Library and Saint John Free Public Library.

The shortlist, to be revealed on March 22, will be selected from an international panel of judges.

The jury panel is comprised of Dubliner and writer Sinéad Moriarty, Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, Paris-based professor Clíona Ní Ríordáin, Nigerian writer and scholar Emmanuel Dandaura and Irish journalist Victoria White.

The jury is chaired by Chris Morash, a professor at Trinity College Dublin, who does not vote.

The winner will be revealed on May 19 to open the International Literature Festival Dublin.

Valeria Luiselli's novel Lost Children Archive won the prize in 2021.

Two Canadians have won the prize since its 1996 inception: Alistair MacLeod won in 2001 for No Great Mischief and Rawi Hage won in 2008 for De Niro's Game.

Read about each of the Canadian nominees below.

Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

Indians on Vacation is a novel by Thomas King. (CBC/Sinisa Jolic, HarperCollins Publishers)

Indians on Vacation is about a couple named Bird and Mimi, who decide to travel through Europe after discovering postcards from Mimi's long-lost Uncle Leroy. Sent nearly a century ago, the postcards send Bird and Mimi on a funny and unforgettable trip to uncover the truth of Uncle Leroy and the family medicine bundle he brought to Europe.

The novel won the 2021 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. It was also on the 2020 Writers's Trust Fiction Prize shortlistthe 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist and was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Prize for fiction.

Thomas King is a Canadian-American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. His books include Truth & Bright WaterThe Inconvenient IndianGreen Grass, Running Water and The Back of the Turtle. He also writes the DreadfulWater mystery series.

Nominated by Vancouver Public Library: "Our reader's advisory team obtained the most nominations for this title, citing this work as unique and humorous, and Mr. King as an important literary voice, who highlights unique Indigenous Canadian experiences."

Thomas King talks about the autobiographical inspiration by his novel Indians on Vacation, which is longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Francesca Ekwuyasi is the author of Butter Honey Pig Bread. (Submitted by Francesca Ekwuyasi/CBC)

Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family — a fear that appears to come true when Kehinde experiences something that tears the family apart, and divides the twins for years. But when the three women connect years later, they must confront their past and find forgiveness.

The novel was championed on Canada Reads 2021 by Roger Mooking and was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2020.

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer, filmmaker and visual artist. Her writing has appeared in the Malahat Review, Guts and Brittle Paper, and she was longlisted for the 2019 Journey PrizeButter Honey Pig Bread is her first book. She was born in Lagos and currently lives in Halifax.

Nominated by Winnipeg Public Library: "Lush, sensuous prose and a moving exploration of the bonds between a mother and her daughters."

Francesca Ekwuyasi on her Canada Reads 2021 book, Butter Honey Pig Bread

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Noopiming is a book by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. (House of Anansi Press, Zahra Siddiqui)

Noopiming combines prose and poetic forms to create an original narrative form, and to reclaim and reframe Anishinaabe storytelling. It's a story told by Mashkawaji, who is frozen in a lake, and who, in turn, tells the story of seven connected characters, who are each searching for a connection to the land and the world. Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for "in the bush," and the title is a response to Susanna Moodie's 1852 memoir about settling in Canada, Roughing It in the Bush.

Noopiming was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Prize for fiction.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, activist, musician, artist, author and member of Alderville First Nation. Her other books include Islands of Decolonial LoveThis Accident of Being LostDancing on Our Turtle's Back and As We Have Always DoneSimpson was chosen by Thomas King for the 2014 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award.

Nominated by Ottawa Public Library: "A beautiful and important story about Indigenous life in the urban settler world, colonialism, climate change and connection. This is a challenging book, both in content and form, that presents timely and vital topics in a way that defies the reader's expectations of how to read a novel. Simpson sketches out a cast of characters with deft, spare strokes — her confidence and control of language is exemplified in the minimalism of her prose. Noopiming is otherworldly, serious and often funny; this is a book that will break your heart and make you think."

Leanne Betsamosake Simpson talks about her latest novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies.

Brighten the Corner Where You Are by Carol Bruneau

Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a novel by Carol Bruneau. (Nimbus Publishing)

Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a novel inspired by the life of folk artist Maud Lewis. Lewis lived in poverty in a tiny, colourful home in Marshalltown, N.S., with her husband Everett. But behind her sunny disposition and colourful art was a story of grief, loss, hardship and immense resilience. Brighten the Corner Where You Are, imagines Maud's life, and shares her remarkable story.

Carol Bruneau is a writer from Halifax. Her other books include the novels Purple for Sky and A Circle on the Surface and the short story collection A Bird on Every Tree.

Nominated by Cape Breton Regional Library: "[Maud Lewis's] life is narrated from beyond the grave – a distinctive voice to be sure and very well written."

Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather Smith

Heather Smith writes YA and middle-grade fiction. Originally from Newfoundland, she now lives in Waterloo, Ont. (Penguin Teen)

When 12-year-old Barry Squires sees the Full Tilt Irish Step Dancers perform, a dream is born. He wants to audition and join the popular St. John's troupe more than anything, but his parents are less than enthusiastic. Luckily, Barry's backed up by his passion for Riverdance, his Nanny Squires, baby brother Gord, an ageing British rocker named Uneven Steven and his mischievous best friend Saibal.

Heather T. Smith is a Waterloo, Ont.-based author, originally from Newfoundland and Labrador. Her novel-in-verse Ebb & Flow was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — text and won the 2019 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, a $50,000 prize that recognizes the best Canadian children's book of the year.

Nominated by St. John's Public Libraries: "Barry Squires has a port wine birthmark on his face. This both marks him as special but also foreshadows the cruelty of a random and indifferent universe.

"Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith is a rare young adult book which deals with a riotously funny yet sensitive teenaged boy. This novel follows Barry as he copes (or doesn't) with family strife, bullying, class and racial divisions, and even greater tragedy. A well-drawn community surrounds and supports Barry and his family as they get knocked down and struggle back up again in a story that refuses to give up its optimistic bent, even in the very darkest of times. Barry Squires is a kid you will never forget."

    The Imago Stage by Karoline Georges, translated by Rhonda Mullins

    The Imago Stage is a book by Karoline Georges. (Yannick Forest, Coach House Books)

    In The Imago Stage, a model decides to embed herself in a digital world to escape the life she had formed in the fashion world of Paris. Earning enough to retire in her 20s, she lives out her life as a digital avatar. However, as she learns of news that her mother is sick, she is forced to retreat from her digital life and confront her flesh and blood family. 

    Karoline Georges is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Quebec. Her novel De synthèse won the 2018 Governor General's Award for French-language fiction. Her work encompasses visual art, poetry and children's fiction. 

    Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation for Jocelyne Saucier's Twenty-One Cardinals. Mullins translated two books that have appeared on Canada Reads — Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and defended by Yanic Truesdale in 2019 and And the Birds Rained Down by Saucier and championed by Martha Wainwright in 2015.

    Nominated by Bibliothèque de Québec: "The Imago Stage brilliantly explores the issues of body image, obsession with beauty and self-staging on social networks alongside complex family relationships. Well-written and thought-provoking, the author takes a disturbing look at our fascination for screens to escape our flesh and bones reality."

      Lay Figures by Mark Blagrave

      Lay Figures is a historical novel by Mark Blagrave. (Michael D. Wennberg, Nimbus Publishing)

      Lay Figures follows an aspiring poet named Elizabeth MacKinnon who moves to Saint John in 1939. Elizabeth seeks inspiration among the bohemian artists of the province — playwrights, dancers, potters and fellow poets — and learns how to survive and make art in a time of economic depression.

      Mark Blagrave is a fiction writer born and raised in Ontario, and has lived in New Brunswick. He is the author of the short story collection Salt in the Wounds and novel Silver Salts, a finalist for the Commonwealth First Novel Award (Canada and Caribbean). 

      Nominated by Saint John Free Public Library: "The questions and challenges faced by Blagrave's artists are eternal, and more vital today than ever."

      Second Place by Rachel Cusk

      Second Place is a novel by Rachel Cusk. (HarperCollins Canada)

      Second Place is a novel about a woman who invites a famous artist to her remote coastal town. She hopes that his vision and talent will change her life, and her perspective on things. What unfolds is a study of humanity, beauty and connection, as the novel explores how our internal and external lives are connected.

      Rachel Cusk is a Canadian-born British novelist. She is best known for her Outline trilogy, which is comprised of the novels Outline, Transit and Kudos. Both Outline and Transit were shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

      Nominated by National Library of Liechtenstein: "It is a story about human relationships, about the fate of men and women, in the atmosphere of art."

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