International Dublin Literary Award: The 2016 shortlist is announced!

Tuesday 12th April 2016: 10 novels have been shortlisted for the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award, proudly sponsored by Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Public Libraries. The list includes four novels in translation from Brazil, France, Germany and Spain, Academy Street by Irish author Mary Costello, and novels from India, Jamaica and the USA.

Shortlist at a glance:

  • 10 novels
  • 8 nationalities 
  • 5 women
  • 5 men
  • 4 in translation
  • 1 Irish author

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is worth €100,000 to the winner and is the world’s most valuable annual literary award for a single work of fiction published in English. The award was launched in April 1995.

2016 Shortlisted Titles:

  • Outlaws  by Javier Cercas (Spanish) Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
  • Academy Street by Mary Costello (Irish) First Novel
  • Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers  (American)
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck (German) Translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaican)
  • Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub (Brazilian) Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa
  • Our Lady of the Nile  by Scholastique Mukasonga (Rwandan) First Novel. Translated from French by Melanie Mauthner
  • Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (American)
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (American)
  • Family Life  by Akhil Sharma (Indian-American)7 Shortlisted Books

The titles on this year’s shortlist were nominated by public libraries in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA”, said Ardmhéara / Lord Mayor, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Patron of the Award. “This is the beauty of this award, proudly sponsored and now fully owned by Dublin City Council; it reaches out to readers and authors worldwide, while also celebrating excellence in contemporary Irish literature represented on the 2016 shortlist by Mary Costello.”

“The 2016 winner will be chosen from this intriguing international shortlist which includes five women writers. The novels come from Brazil, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Rwanda/France, Spain and the USA”, said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian. “While many of the stories reflect contemporary themes, they bring us characters facing timeless challenges of love and loss, of innocence and isolation. These engaging stories are set against contrasting landscapes which include Brazil, India, and Rwanda.”

Two of the shortlisted authors have been shortlisted previously. Javier Cercas was shortlisted in 2008 for his novel The Speed of Light and Marilynne Robinson in 2010 for Home.

The five member international judging panel, chaired by Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, will select one winner which will be announced by Ardmhéara / Lord Mayor, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, Patron of the Award, on the morning of Thursday 9th June.

The Lord Mayor reminded Dubliners that they can borrow the shortlisted novels from Dublin City Public Libraries. “Readers have plenty of time to pick their own favourite between now and 9th June, when I announce the winner.  Tá mé cinnte go mbainfidh daoine sásamh as na leabhair seo a léamh, arsa an tArdmhéara.”

The International DUBLIN Literary Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English. The award aims to promote excellence in world literature. It is proudly sponsored by Dublin City Council and is managed by Dublin City Public Libraries.

The award is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world. Founded in April 1995, the award is now in its 21st year.

Recent previous winners of the award include:

Harvest by Jim Crace (2015), The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (2014), City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (2013), Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (2012), Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2011), The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (2010), Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (2009), De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (2008),  and Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2007)

All the longlisted novels can be viewed on

1 sShortlisted Books

New ebook available @Project Gutenberg: Victor Hugo by Théophile Gautier

Victor HugoVictor Hugo by Théophile Gautier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Victor Hugo

Author: Théophile Gautier

Release Date: May 3, 2016 [EBook #51977]

Language: French

Produced by Laura N.R. and Marc D’Hooghe at (Images generously made available by the Hathi Trust.)

Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

«Si j’avais le malheur de croire qu’un vers de Victor Hugo n’est pas beau, je n’oserais pas me l’avouer à moi-même, tout seul, dans une cave, sans chandelle.»

Original file provided by HathiTrust.

Page 110:

Je ne suis point de ceux qui croient qu’une pensée peut être ôtée impunément d’une œuvre quelconque. Vous avez une toile où il y a un nœud, vous arrachez ce nœud, mais vous arrachez avec lui le fil auquel il tient, et vous faites un vide dans toute la longueur de la trame: il en est ainsi des pensées. Retranchez une phrase au premier acte: vous en rendez trois autres inintelligibles au second, six au troisième, et ainsi de suite.

Pages 123-124:

M. Hugo n’est pas seulement un poète, c’est encore un peintre, mais un peintre que ne désavoueraient pas pour père Louis Boulanger, Camille Roqueplan et Paul Huet. Quand il voyage, il crayonne tout ce qui le frappe. Une arête de colline, une dentelure d’horizon, une forme bizarre de nuage, un détail curieux de porte ou de fenêtre, une tour, ébréchée, un vieux beffroi: ce sont ses notes; puis le soir, à l’auberge, il retrace son trait à la plume, l’ombre le colore, y met des vigueurs, un effet toujours hardiment choisi; et le croquis informe poché à la hâte sur le genou ou sur le fond du chapeau, souvent à travers les cahots de la voiture ou le roulis du bateau de passe, devient un dessin assez semblable à une eau-forte, d’un caprice et d’un ragoût à surprendre les artistes eux-mêmes.

Page 209:

Il y a chez M. Victor Hugo une qualité, la plus grande, la plus rare de toutes dans les arts: la force! Tout ce qu’il touche prend de làavigueur, de l’énergie, de la solidité; sous ses doigts puissants, les contours se dessinent nettement; rien de vague, rien de mou, rien d’abandonné au hasard. Il a cette violence et cette âpreté de style qui caractérisent Michel-Ange: son génie est un génie mâle,–car le génie a un sexe.–Raphaël est un génie féminin, ainsi que Racine; Corneille est un génie mâle.

The Man Booker International Prize 2016 Shortlist Announced

The Man Booker International Prize has revealed the shortlist of six books in contention for the 2016 Prize, celebrating the finest in global fiction. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, while the £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.

The 2016 Man Booker International Shortlist 

Title (imprint) Author (nationality) Translator (nationality)

A General Theory of Oblivion (Harvill Secker), José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), Daniel Hahn (UK)

The Story of the Lost Child (Europa Editions), Elena Ferrante (Italy), Ann Goldstein (USA)

The Vegetarian (Portobello Books), Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith (UK)

A Strangeness in My Mind (Faber & Faber), Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), Ekin Oklap (Turkey)

A Whole Life (Picador), Robert Seethaler (Austria), Charlotte Collins (UK)

The Four Books (Chatto & Windus), Yan Lianke  (China), Carlos Rojas (USA)

Settings range from war-torn Angola to Naples terrorised by the Camorra, from the mountains of Austria to the growing sprawl of Istanbul and from metamorphosis in South Korea to allegorical transformation during the Great Famine in China.

Five of the authors have been nominated for the first time (Yan appeared on the list of finalists in 2013). The nominees include two winners of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize: Agualusa (2007) and Pamuk (1990) who also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. It is the first appearance on a Man Booker International Prize list for writers from Angola, Austria, South Korea and Turkey.

The translators are predominantly female and of UK or US descent. The youngest are Turkish-born Londoner Ekin Oklap (27) and Deborah Smith (28) who only started learning Korean at the age of 21.

Three independent publishers, Europa Editions, Faber & Faber and Portobello Books, have made it to the shortlist. Penguin Random House has two novels through the imprints Chatto & Windus and Harvill Secker, while Pan Macmillan’s imprint Picador has the final place on the list.

Announcing the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner

Congratulations to James Hannaham, winner of the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Delicious Foods (Little, Brown), and congratulations again to our four finalists:

Julie Iromuanya for Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (Coffee House Press)

Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer (Grove Atlantic)

Elizabeth Tallent for Mendocino Fire (HarperCollins)

Luis Alberto Urrea for The Water Museum (Little, Brown)

About the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Winner and Finalists:

Delicious Foods
(Little, Brown)

James Hannaham’s Delicious Foods is at once a sweeping American tale of race and exploitation, a darkly comedic thriller, and an intimate portrayal of a troubled mother and her damaged son. The narrative follows the lives of Darlene, a woman left ruined after the traumatic death of her husband; Eddie, her young son; and Scotty, crack cocaine personified, who threatens to destroy them both. After Darlene’s husband, a black civil activist, is murdered in a sleepy town in Louisiana, it is not long before Darlene’s grief drives her to drugs. Once she embarks on this dangerous path, crack addiction soon becomes sole motivating force of Darlene’s life, driving her into de facto enslavement at a farm called Delicious Foods. Hannaham is unafraid of the complex and the horrible, and yet his novel shines in its intimate details. Praising the novel in the New York Times, Ted Genoways writes, “The novel’s finest moments are…in the singular way that Hannaham can make the commonplace spring to life with nothing more than astute observation and precise language.”

James Hannaham is a journalist, critic and fiction writer, and is the author of the novel God Says No. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches creative writing at the Pratt Institute.


Mr. and Mrs. Doctor
(Coffee House Press)

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, Julie Iromuanya’s first novel, begins with an enormous lie. Job, a Nigerian immigrant to the United States, has told his family in Nigeria that he is a doctor – and they’ve found him a wife who believes the same. The only problem is, Job never finished college. He’s a nursing assistant in Omaha, Nebraska, and he’s about to bring his new partner, Ifi, into an American life very different from the one she expects. Iromuanya takes on marriage and immigration with a keen eye for detail, a razor-sharp sense of humor, and a constant undercurrent of empathy for her characters and their ever-mounting lies.

Julie Iromuanya was born and raised in the Midwest, the daughter of Igbo Nigerian immigrants. She holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a Presidential Fellow and award-winning teacher, and was the inaugural Herbert W. Martin fellow at the University of Dayton. She now teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona, where she is an assistant professor of English and Africana literature.


The Sympathizer
(Grove Atlantic)

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s startling debut novel, The Sympathizerbegins with the words, “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces.” What follows is the written confession of a North Vietnamese sleeper agent who, working as an attaché to a South Vietnamese general in the last days of The American War, flees to Los Angeles just before the fall of Saigon. There he remains a Communist mole and reports back to his handlers on a plot to return and overthrow the North Vietnamese regime. The Sympathizer evades easy categorization: it is a spy novel, a thriller, a picaresque tale of refugee life, and a cultural satire. But above all it is a propulsive meditation on the compromised and debased choices wrought by extreme politics and war. Philip Caputo writes that The Sympathizer “fills a void in the literature, giving voice to the previously voiceless while it compels the rest of us to look at the events of 40 years ago in a new light.”

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in the United States. He is the author of the academic book Race and Resistance, and his stories have appeared in Best New American VoicesTriQuarterly, and the Chicago Tribune. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the University of Southern California.


Mendocino Fire

Elizabeth Tallent’s evocative collection of stories, Mendocino Fire, opens with a young fisherman struggling with an overbearing father and his own involvement with illegal abalone fishing, and ends with an estranged daughter trying desperately to get to her father’s bedside during a blizzard. In between are stories narrated by a Virginia Woolf scholar, a mill worker, a creative writing student, and a tree-sitter who has made a redwood home for over 140 days – just to name a few. What the ten stories that make up Mendocino Fire all share is the world we live in: one of turbulent change and ecological peril. Each character leaves us gasping, because no matter what their story, Tallent peers into their inner lives with acuity and profound understanding.

This collection is Elizabeth Tallent’s first in 23 years; her others include Honey, Time with Children, and In Constant Flight, as well as the novel Museum Pieces. She has taught since 1989 in Stanford University’s Creative Writing program and lives on the Mendocino coast in California.


The Water Museum
(Little, Brown)

The Water Museum, award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, and poet Luis Urrea’s most recent short story collection, is rooted in the American West and Southwest, from the rural Idaho of “Mountains Without Number” to the fractured San Diego of “The Southside Raza Image Federation Corps of Discovery.” Urrea combines violence with humor, drama with intimate observation, and fiction with rock and roll. He loves his characters and he loves his landscape, and it shows. NPR’s Michael Schaub calls him “compassionate but hard-edged, a kind of literary badass who still believes in love… The Water Museum is a brilliant, powerful collection, and Luis Alberto Urrea is a master storyteller.”

Luis Alberto Urrea, who was born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, is a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. He is the author of 14 books, including The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Six Kinds of Sky, and Into the Beautiful North. He lives with his family in Napierville, Illinois, and teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

A list of past winners and finalists of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction can be found here.

Book review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

The Story of the Lost ChildThe Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the final part of the L’amica geniale tetralogy .

The lives of Elena and Lila comes to a climax with an inexorable end of their stories.

I wouldn’t mind if the author could condense these 4 books in only 2 two books.

This book is indicated at the Man Booker International Prize Nominee for Longlist (2016)

4* My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1) – see my review here.
3* The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels, #2) – see my review here.
3* Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3) – see my review here.
4* The Story of the Lost Child
TR Troubling Love
TR The Days of Abandonment

There is a lot of speculations about the real identity of Elena Ferrante: does it really matters? Who is the real Italian novelist writing as Elena Ferrante? As the fame of the Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay author grows, so does the guessing game about her identity….


The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction: The 2016 Shortlist is announced!

The 2016 Shortlist is announced!

23rd March, 2016


The shortlist for the 2016 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been announced!  The six books are:

SWEET CARESS by William Boyd (Bloomsbury)

A PLACE CALLED WINTER by Patrick Gale (Tinder Press)

MRS ENGELS by Gavin McCrea (Scribe UK)

END GAMES IN BORDEAUX by Allan Massie (Quartet)

TIGHTROPE by Simon Mawer (Little,Brown)

SALT CREEK by Lucy Treloar (Picador Australia)

Announcing the shortlist, the Judges said:

“Each place in our shortlist was hard fought, as it has been another exceptional year for historical fiction. This embarrassment of riches forced us to focus our lens more closely on fiction which evokes an authentic atmosphere of the past, rather than that which solely deals with the nature of memory.

“The six books we have chosen are certainly evocative – transporting us from the Great Northern prairies to the South Australian coast, via a wide sweep across pre-war and post-war Europe – but they also tell great stories, and bring periods of history alive, much as Walter Scott did in his time.”

The winner will be announced and awarded at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in Melrose on Saturday 18th June 2016.

Book review: Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell

Sylvia's LoversSylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell

From BBC Radio 4:
1/2: Sylvia Dobson’s cousin, Philip, lives for her, he loves her totally but Sylvia is in love with seafaring whaler, Charlie Kinraid. Gaskell’s last (completed) novel is set in Yorkshire. Set in the 1790’s – the time of the Napoleonic wars. It takes place in Monkshaven (ie.Whitby). The Press Gangs were always lurking when the whale boats were returning from Greenland with their cargo. They intercepted the boats, seized the men and pressed them into service with the Royal Navy to fight the French.

2/2: Sylvia marries Philip, believing Charlie to be dead. But chaos descends when Charlie returns, and Sylvia discovers Philip has lied to her. Set in Yorkshire in the 1790’s – the time of the Napoleonic wars, in Monkshaven (ie.Whitby), during the time of the Press Gangs, who intercepted the fishing boats, seized the men and pressed them into service with the Royal Navy to fight the French.

Elizabeth Gaskell …… Barbara Flynn
Sylvia …… Jodie Comer
Philip …… Graeme Hawley
Charlie Kinraid …… Chris Connel
Bell …… Siobhan Finneran
Daniel ….. Paul CopleySylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
Dramatised by Ellen Dryden

Kester/Donkin …… Jonathan Keeble
Molly …… Nichola Burley
Mrs. Corney ……. Olwen May
Produced/directed by Pauline Harris.

Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

4* North and South
2* Mary Barton
4* Wives And Daughters
3* Cranford
4* Curious, If True: Strange Tales
2* Ruth
3* Right at Last
CR Sylvia’s Lovers
TR My Lady Ludlow
TR The Life of Charlotte Brontë