<body9> Among the authors from 30 countries that were on the long list of candidates for the Dublin International Literary Prize 2021, chosen by libraries around the world, was the name of the Portuguese writer António Lobo Antunes, with the work “Until the stones become lighter than water ”.
The organization announced today the list of finalists, which includes three men (one Irish, one American and one Vietnamese) and three women (two Mexican and one British). “Girl, Woman and other” by Bernardine Evaristo, who has already won the Booker Literary Prize, is one of the finalists for this award, which is also competing with the already awarded Colson Whitehead, with “The nickel boys”, winner of the Pulitzer de fiction. “On Earth we are briefly magnificent”, by Ocean Vuong, “Apeirogon”, by Colum McCann, “Hurricane Season”, by Fernanda Melchor, and “Lost Children Archive”, by Valeria Luiselli, are the remaining finalists for the prize, whose winner will be announced on May 20.
The work “Girl, woman and other” published in Portugal by Elsinore, had already been a candidate for the Women's Prize for Fiction and earned the author a double distinction in the British Book Awards, in the categories of “Fiction Book of the Year” and “Author of the year". It is a work that addresses issues such as feminism, race, sexuality, gender identity and economic, social and historical stratification, a polyphonic novel with 12 characters from the 20th and 21st centuries, almost all of them black women and, in one way or another, the result of the legacy of the British colonial empire, which lead very different lives. Their stories, that of their families, friends and lovers, make up a multifaceted and realistic portrait of today, of a multicultural society that confronts the legacy of its past and fights against the contradictions of the present.
“The nickel boys” published in Portugal by Alfaguara, tells a story of injustice, based on true facts, about two friends who fight for survival in a correctional facility for young people, in the North American city that gives the name to the work, in a country and in a time when the color of the skin is decisive. This book by Colson Whitehead - who in 2017 had already won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with “The Underground Railroad” was considered one of the 10 best novels of the decade, by the magazine “Time”.
“On Earth We Are Briefly Magnificent”, by Ocean Vuong, published by Relógio d'Água, is a letter from a son to a mother who does not know how to read, which evokes the past of a family and tells a story that has Vietnam as its epicenter, unraveling aspects of her life that her mother never knew and leading to a disturbing final revelation. A testimony to a hard but undeniable love between a single mother and her son, the letter is also an investigation into race, class and masculinity, raising central questions about a current filled with violence and trauma, which overlap with compassion and sensitivity.
The other three finalists are not published in Portugal. With “Apeirogon”, Colum McCann spans centuries and continents, sewing time, art, history, nature and politics, in a story of friendship, love, loss and belonging, which crosses the lives of a Palestinian and an Israeli, who become best friends. In “Hurricane Season”, a group of children finds a corpse of a witch and the whole village begins to investigate the crime, but as the novel unfolds, with each unreliable narrator persisting in detail, new acts of depravity or brutality, Fernanda Melchor extracts from these characters some small fragments of humanity, forming a portrait of a damn Mexican village. The Mexican Mexican Valeria Luiselli's novel, “Lost Children Archive”, accompanies a couple of artists who leave with their two children on a road trip, from New York to Arizona, in the heat of summer, but as the family it travels west, the bonds begin to fade, and a fracture grows between the parents.
Through songs, maps and a Polaroid camera, children try to make sense of both their family crisis and a bigger crisis that stands out in the news: the stories of thousands of children trying to cross the southwest border into the United States, but who are detained, or lost in the desert, along the way. Among the first nominees for the award, but who were also left behind, were “Pátria”, by Fernando Aramburo (National Narrative Award from Spain), “10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World”, by Elif Shafak, “ The Courage of Cilka ”, by Heather Morris,“ Clap when you land ”, by Elizabeth Acevedo,“ Night at Caracas ”, by Carina Sainz Borgo,“ The Vanishing Half ”, by Brit Bennett, and “Tyll”, by Daniel Kehlmann. The Dublin Literary Prize is organised by the municipality of the capital of Ireland and managed by the public libraries of the city, with a monetary value of 100 thousand euros, to be delivered in full to the author of the winning work, if it is written in English, or, in the case of translation, to be divided between writer and translator, in the amounts of 75 thousand euros and 25 thousand euros, respectively. Irish writer Anna Burns was the winner of the 2020 edition, with the novel "Milkman" (which had previously won the Booker Prize).