Seven African writers, three of them South African, have been nominated for this year’s International Dublin Literary Award.
The South African writers nominated are Zakes Mda (Rachel’s Blue), Mandla Langa (The Texture of Shadows) and Imraan Coovadia (Tales of the Metric System).
The triad of novels have been within sniffing distance of silverware already; Rachel’s Blue recently won the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prize, The Texture of Shadows was longlisted for the inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award for Fiction, and Tales of the Metric System was shortlisted for the 2015 Barry Ronge Prize.
With €100 000 (about R1 500 000) prize money, the annual International Dublin Literary Award, formerly known as the IMPAC Award, is the richest in the world for a single work of fiction in English. If the winning book is a translation, the author receives €75 000 and the translator €25 000.
The award is now in its 20th year and aims to “promote excellence in world literature”. Nominations are made by libraries in major cities throughout the world, on the basis of “high literary merit”, with participating libraries nominating up to three books. This year nominations came from libraries in 118 cities and 44 countries, including 53 novels in translation, with works by 44 American, 25 British, 10 Canadian, 10 Australian and six German authors.
Other African authors on the list include Moroccan-American novelist Laila Lalami, who was longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and won the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, for The Moor’s Account; Scholastique Mukasonga, a Rwandan author living in France, for Our Lady of the Nile; Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu for All Our Names; and Nigerian-born Helen Oyeyemi, for Boy, Snow, Bird.
French novelist Marc Dugain, nominated for The Avenue of Giants, was born in Senegal, while Dutch writer and actor Herman Koch, nominated for Summer House with Swimming Pool, may be a familiar name to South Africans, as his novel Het Diner was translated into Afrikaans by Daniel Hugo as Die aandete. Caine Prize judge Neel Mukherjee, who was a guest of this year’s Open Book Festival in Cape Town, has been nominated for The Lives of Others.
Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James has also been nominated, for A Brief History of Seven Killings.
The shortlist will be announced on April 12, 2016, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin will reveal the winner on June 9.