Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 5, 2021

Aussies and Kiwis on the 2021 Dublin Literary Award longlist

Books by Australian authors and one by a New Zealand author have been longlisted for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award.

Perhaps we have Covid to thank for the more sensible length of the longlist.  Last year there were 150+ books, this year there are 49 books: from 30 countries, in ten languages, and nominated by 69 libraries.  The shortlist will be announced on the 25th March and the winner on the 20th of May. The prize is worth €100,000 (A$157,760) and if a translated novel wins, the translator wins 25% of the prize money.

Of the Australian titles, I’ve read and reviewed these:

  • The White Girl by Tony Birch, University of Queensland Press, see my review
  • This Excellent Machine by Stephen Orr, Wakefield Press, see my review
  • The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton Australia, see my review

I’ve read and reviewed the New Zealand title:

For more information, visit the award’s website.

Once again the list has been a tedious task to transcribe.  To the web page of book covers they have added a downloadable PDF with a chart which when copied results in a single paragraph of text which needs to be separated.  I hope I haven’t made any mistakes and would appreciate advice about any information that needs to be added or corrections that need to be made.   I’m also aware that I may have missed Australian or New Zealand writers if I’m not familiar with their names, so please don’t hesitate to let me know if there are more than those I’ve identified.

Nominees from elsewhere around the world.  (I have kept the Aussies and Kiwis in this list (in Italics) to keep the numbering correct, but links to my reviews for those are above.)

2021 Longlist of Library Nominations

  1. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Bonnier Books UK
  2. Things That Fall From The Sky by Selja Ahava, Translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and
    Fleur Jeremiah, Oneworld Publications
  3. Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water, by António Lobo Antunes, Translated from the Portuguese by Jeff
    Love,  Yale University Press
  4. Homeland by Fernando Aramburu, Translated from the Spanish by Alfred MacAdam,  Penguin Random House
  5. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Little, Brown Book Group, on my TBR
  6. The White Girl by Tony Birch, University of Queensland Press, see my review
  7. It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, Translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer,  HarperVia/Harper Collins
  8. The Cat and The City by Nick Bradley, Atlantic
  9. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins, Penguin Books
  10. The Innocents by Michael Crummey, Penguin Random House Canada, Canada
  11. The Pelican: A Comedy by Martin Michael Driessen, Translated from the Dutch by Jonathan Reeder, Amazon Publishing
  12. Catacombs by Mary Anna Evans, Poisoned Pen Press
  13. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Hamish Hamilton, on my TBR
  14. The Other Name: Septology I-II by Jon Fosse, Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls, Fitzcarraldo Editions
  15. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh, John Murray, see my review
  16. When All is Said by Anne Griffin, Hodder and Stoughton
  17. The Eighth Life (for Brilka) by Nino Haratischwili ,Translated from the German by Charlotte Collins & Ruth
    Martin, Scribe Publications, see my review
  18. Beyond Yamashita and Perciva, by Shaari Isa, Translated from the Malay by Shaari Isa,  Institut Terjemahan & Buku
    Malaysia Berhad
  19. Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann ,Translated from the German by Benjamin Ross, Quercus
  20. The Ditch by Herman Koch, Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett,  Picador
  21. While the Music Played by Nathaniel Lande, Blackstone Publishing
  22. Lost Children archive by Valeria Luiselli. Alfred A. Knopf
  23. The Boy by Marcus Malte Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan & Tom Roberge,  Restless books
  24. Auē by Becky Manawatu, Mākaro Press, see my review
  25. The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel, Knopf Publishing, Canada, on my TBR
  26. Apeirogon by Colum McCann, Bloomsbury, see my review
  27. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes, Fitzcarraldo Editions
  28. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Orion Publishing
  29. Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris, Echo Publishing
  30. Dark Mother Earth by Kristian Novak, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac, Amazon Publishing
  31. Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars by Joyce Carol Oates, Fourth Estate
  32. Inland by Téa Obreht, Random House
  33. Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor, Penguin Random House
  34. Mona in Three Acts by Griet Op de Beeck, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison  Amazon Publishing
  35. This Excellent Machine by Stephen Orr, Wakefield Press, see my review
  36. Mary Toft; Or, The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer, Pantheon Books
  37. The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated from the German by Jen Calleja, Serpent´s Tail
  38. A Chronicle of Forgetting by Sebastijan Pregelj, translated from the Slovene by Rawley Grau Slovene Writers’ Association
  39. We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Ruffin, One World
  40. Beside Myself by Sasha Marianna Salzmann, translated from the German by Imogen Taylor, Text Publishing
  41. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak, Viking
  42. The Subtweet: A Novel by Vivek Shraya, Canada, ECW Press
  43. Crossing by Pajtim Statovci , translated from the Finnish by David Hackston, Pushkin Press
  44. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Jonathan Cape
  45. The Trumpet Shall Sound by Eibhear Walshe, Sommerville Press
  46. The Nickel boys by Colson Whitehead, Little, Brown Book Group
  47. Reproduction by Ian Williams, Random House Canada, Canada
  48. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, Grove Atlantic
  49. The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton Australia, see my review


  1. That’s a very long longlist!


    • But did you see it last year? More than 150 books, which was ridiculous.
      The thing is, it’s generated from recommendations from libraries, so in 2020 there must have been 150+ libraries taking part. They’re trying to be inclusive and spread beyond English speaking countries, so their intentions are good, but a longlist that long is meaningless IMO.
      Anyway if there were 69 libraries nominating this year, 20 of them must have nominated the same book as some other library. I have no idea what the criteria are, if any, but you have to wonder about the SLV’s nomination of that tawdry pop-Holocaust book by Morris… the SLV was closed for almost all of last year, and it’s not a lending library anyway. So how and why do they have any say-so? I’d be interested to have been a fly on the wall when the nomination was done. It does tell you something about the kind of reading librarians do if they think that was the most worthy choice they could make.
      I keep an eye on this award because in previous years the judges have weeded out the mundane and awarded the prize to some very good books, for example: Remembering Babylon by David Malouf, Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor, The Master by Colm Toibin, and Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, plus also interesting translations that we otherwise would never hear about e.g. My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. If you check out the shortlists at Wikipedia, you can see that there are some really worthwhile books there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t see it last year, 150 books…imagine wading through that as a judge! They must be relieved with this year’s trimmed down list.
        I find more and more that just because a reader is a librarian or a bookseller, it doesn’t seem to make them immune to jumping on the ‘popular train’ and I’ve long given up understanding how some books never lose their grip despite abundant evidence indicating they are not worthy.
        What does SLV do if they aren’t a lending library? Sounds like a contradiction…


        • Well, I can understand it if some suburban lending library nominates something very popular because they would know from their stats about what people like. OTOH popular books don’t need more publicity, they do just fine on their own. This award is an opportunity for libraries to showcase the best of our books in an international arena. I think it’s a waste not to take advantage of that.
          But the SLV? It’s a repository library, and you can access books and other materials there, but you can’t borrow a book and take it home. They do run various reading initiatives like a summer reading club but as I say, they were closed during lockdown and if I remember the email correctly. are only just opening up again this week. Of all the Australian libraries sending nominations for this award, I would have expected the SLV to come up with something really special.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, given that description of who they are, I agree with you.


            • All states, I think, have a library like this. When I published my books, by law I had to deposit a copy at the SLV so that they have a complete repository of everything published in their state. They are a treasure trove of books and materials for research, and our SLV reading room is famous for being a quiet place for authors to write books. If you’re ever down this way, I’ll give you a guided tour: there are permanent exhibitions and special exhibitions, and it’s the most beautiful building in Melbourne IMO.

              Liked by 1 person

              • That would be excellent! Once my sister is installed back in Melbourne (she’s headed back from 10 years in Singapore in April) I hope to be a regular visitor again. I have missed Melbourne!


  2. Just one other Australian on that list that I can see: Heather Morris for Cilka’s Journey (a follow-on from The Tattooist of Auschwitz).
    Thanks for taking the trouble to transcribe the list – very interesting!


    • Yes, thank you. I did recognise it enough to be disappointed that the State Library couldn’t think of anything better than that to nominate.
      But I did intend to Italicise it in the list, I was interrupted and forgot.


  3. Heather Morris is also an Australian author (‘Cilka’s Journey’ No. 29).
    I’ve read a few of these but I’m in my computer free zone (Adaminaby) for a few days and typing on my ‘phone is tedious 😉


    • Ah, yes, I neglected to Italicise it in the list.


  4. I have only read five from the list, and to think they have to weave there way through 49 book nominations seems to be a heavy load. And as for 150, impossible.


    • Yes, if you were really going to give each book its due, it would be a big ask. I’ve been on shadow juries, admittedly when I was also still working, and it meant that every moment of spare time was spent reading. Which is fine if you’re enjoying it, but if you’re not, and if you know how much is hanging on your decisions because there’s money involved, it would be very, very stressful.
      I never enjoyed judging school writing competitions because I knew how much work and effort went into the entries (and sometimes, that mum or dad were the real authors, not the kid, which I think is despicable.)


  5. I wondered, too, why the list is so much shorter this year. But I’m not complaining! Although, it does mean fewer number of Canadians on the list. Lol But the ones that made it are good ones!
    Out of the ones you read from Australia, would you recommend one over the others?


    • That’s hard… I liked them all. But I think if I had to choose, I’d suggest The Yield. It won our most prestigious prize, the Miles Franklin, and while telling a very good story, it’s about Indigenous languages and why it’s important to protect them.


    • PS Which are the ones from Canada?


      • Reproduction, which won the 2019 Giller Prize. The Innocents, which won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2019 Giller. The Glass Hotel, which was on the Giller shortlist this year. And The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya.


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