Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the International DUBLIN Literary Award?

A: The International DUBLIN Literary Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English. The Award is sponsored by Dublin City Council, the municipal government of Dublin, and administered by Dublin City Public Libraries. The Award aims to promote excellence in world literature. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world. The award is now in its 24th year. The Lord Mayor of Dublin is Patron of the Award.

Q: What is the prize fund?

A: The prize is €100,000 which is awarded to the author if the book is written in English. If the winning book is in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000. The winner also receives a trophy provided by Dublin City Council.

Q: Who can nominate books for the Award?

A: The nomination process for the Award is unique as nominations are made by libraries in capital and major cities throughout the world. Participating libraries can nominate up to three novels each year. Over 400 library systems in 177 countries worldwide are invited  to nominate books each year. Dublin City Libraries actively seek out and encourage nominations from countries  who have not previously nominated books for the award. Libraries interested in participating should contact the organisers for details.

Nomination forms and the full rules and conditions for the 2020 award were sent to all invited libraries (400 systems in 177 countries) in February/March 2019. The closing date for returning nomination forms for the 2020 award was 3rd May 2019.

Q: What are the rules for nominating a book for the 2020 Award?

A: You may read the rules and conditions for the 2020 Award here. In summary form, in order to be eligible for consideration for the 2020 Award a novel must have been: first published in English between 1st January 2018 and 31st December 2018, both dates inclusive, or first published in a language other than English between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2018 AND first published in English translation between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2018 (all dates inclusive).

Q: Who manages the nomination processes and liaison with publishers?

A: Dublin City Public Libraries manages the entire process of nomination which involves over one hundred public libraries in a unique international library cooperative effort. It also liaises with publishers of nominated works who provide copies for the judging process as a requirement of eligibility.

Q: How is the longlist of titles arrived at?

A: The longlist, which is announced in November of each year, is the full list of all eligible nominated novels submitted by the participating libraries.

Q: Are the nominations based on popularity of titles issued by public libraries?

A: Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.

Q: Who are the judges?

A: Both the shortlist and the eventual winner are selected by an international panel of judges which changes each year. The 2020 Judging Panel will be announced in November 2019. The complete list of judges to date is available here.

Q: Is there a publicly announced shortlist?

A: Yes. The shortlist, up to a maximum of ten titles, chosen by the judges is announced in April of each year.

Q: When was the Award established?

A: The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was established by Dublin City, Civic Charter in 1994. (The award was renamed the International DUBLIN Literary Award in November 2015). It arose from an initiative of Dublin Corporation, the Municipal Government of Dublin City on the instigation of the then Lord Mayor, Alderman Gay Mitchell who commissioned an expert group to consider and report on the feasibility of organising a Dublin Literary Award. The expert group comprised of Chair, Mr. Sean Donlon (of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and GPA), Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian, Professor Augustine Martin of University College Dublin, Senator David Norris, Trinity College Dublin and Colm O’Briain, formerly Director of the Irish Arts Council. Their Report was adopted by the City Council and incorporated into the Report of the Lord Mayor’s Commission on Economic Development in Dublin.

Q: Who are the sponsors?

A: The Award is now entirely a Dublin City initiative, sponsored by the City Council. The original private sector sponsoring partner was the company, IMPAC, and its founder, the late James B. Irwin Snr. Mr Irwin and IMPAC supported the Award for many years through a Trust set up to fund the prize money. This Trust Fund was exhausted at the end of 2014 Award and was wound up. Dublin City Council is grateful to the late James B Irwin Snr. and IMPAC for their support over the years.

Q: Who organises the award?

A: The award is organised by an organising committee. The current members of the committee are  Mairead Owens, Dublin City Librarian and Chair (ex-officio);  Brendan Teeling, Deputy Dublin City Librarian; Áine Cronin, Dublin City Press Officer (ex-officio); Alison Lyons, Director Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Cathy McKenna, award administrator.

Q: Is an Archival collection of nominated titles available?

A: Dublin City Public Libraries hold a collection of all eligible nominated titles for the award since its inception in 1996. These books are available for reference in the Dublin City Library & Archive, 138 – 144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. Details of each award, the titles, the libraries participating and the judges are available on the website, Award Archive.