The latest novel by Quebec writer of Vietnamese origin Kim Thúy, Em, is officially among the six finalists for the 2023 edition of the International Dublin Literary Award, a prestigious prize with a unique nomination process.
Indeed, rather than being chosen by a jury or submitted by publishers, the works of fiction in the running, written or translated into English, are offered by public libraries in capitals and major cities around the world.
For this 28th edition, the preliminary list of titles selected for this award sponsored by Dublin City Council, Ireland, included 70 novels, including 29 translations. They were submitted by 84 libraries from 31 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada, South America and Oceania.
The prize and the accompanying grant of 100,000 euros (75,000 euros for the author and 25,000 for her translator) will be awarded at the opening ceremony of the International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFD), on 25 next May in Dublin.
Em tells the story of a baby abandoned in the middle of the Vietnam War and who is tenderly cared for by a young boy living in the streets of Saigon.
Em’s nomination is also a great success for the Montreal translator Sheila Fischman, already selected for the 2017 edition, the translation of this work of fiction being a complex task.
“Delicate prose is employed here to bring to life some of the ugliest and cruelest times, when groups of Vietnamese wreaked havoc with their brothers, their comrades. Fortunately (for the characters, anyway), love prevails,” said the translator.
It should be noted that two other Canadian authors were also named in the preliminary list for this award: Alexie Morin, for Open Your Heart, translation by Aimee Wall of her novel Open Your Heart, and Mona Awad, who was born and raised in Montreal, for his book All’s Well, the French translation of which, Tout est bien, was published last fall by Québec Amérique.