The Dublin Literary Award has announced its 2022 longlist of 79 names, and there are 5 African authors, 6 down from the twelve selected last year. The longlisted authors are the International Booker Prize-winning Senegalese author David Diop for his second novel At Night All Blood is Black, Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, the Nigerian writers Akwake Emezi for their second novel The Death of Vivek Oji, Liberian author Sianah Nalika DeShield for Where is Ma Kemah, and Francesca Ekwuyasi for her debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread.
This years list also includes global favorites such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Rachel Cusk and Patricia Lockwood. The list was selected by a judging panel from nominations by libraries in major cities worldwide. The prize, which is valued at €100,000, is one of the world’s richest for a single book published in English. Sponsored by the Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Libraries, the prize keeps in line with Dublin’s 2010 designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black, a Brittle Paper notable book, follows the lives of Senegalese soldiers who fought for France during World War I. Listed as one of Barack Obama’s recommended reads, the novel was awarded the 2021 International Booker Prize, the first for an French writer and a writer of Francophone descent.
Emezi’s coming-of-age second novel The Death of Vivek Oji narrates the tragic timeline of its troubled protagonist’s short lived existence. Regarded as one of Akwaeke’s finest offering yet, the book scooped multiple accolades upon publication including nominations for a Pen America Literary Award, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and won a Nommo Award.
Francesca Ekwuyasi’s Butter Honey Pig Bread, a Lambda Award finalist, centers on a mother’s complex relationship with her twin daughters, exploring concepts of love, family and forgiveness. It’s publication in 2020 was met with positive reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker.
Who is Ma Kemah is a love story about a Liberian woman’s journey from a war-torn Liberia to an A-list lifestyle as the love interest for an American start athlete.
Transcendent Kingdom is a moving story of a Ghanaian family struggling with loss and racism in the American south.
Other previous nominations have included Yaa Gyasi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mbolo Imbue, and Yewande Omotoso was shortlisted for the prize last year. The 2004 prize was awarded to Morocco’s Tahar Ben Jelloun for his novel This Blinding Absence of Light and the 2017 Prize went to Angola’s Jose Eduardo Agualusa for A General Theory of Oblivion. (Read an African history of the prize here.)
A shortlist of 10 will be announced in March, with the overall winner to be named in Dublin on May 19th.
See the full longlist here.
Congratulations to David Diop, Akwaeke Emezi & Francesca Ekwuyasi!