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€100,000 Dublin literary award won by Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu

€100,000 Dublin literary award won by Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu

Romanian author Mircea Cărtărescu and American translator Sean Cotter have won the €100,000 Dublin literary award for the novel Solenoid.

“By turns wildly inventive, philosophical and lyrical, with passages of great beauty, Solenoid is the work of a major European writer who is still relatively little-known to English-language readers,” said the judges.

“Cotter’s translation of the novel sets out to change that situation, capturing the lyrical precision of the original, thereby opening up Cărtărescu’s work to an entirely new readership.”

Solenoid was announced as the winning title at the International literature festival Dublin on Thursday. Cărtărescu received €75,000, while Cotter received €25,000.

“Winning the Dublin literary award is one of the most significant achievements in my whole literary career, and a great honour for me,” said Cărtărescu.

Set in late 1970s and early 1980s communist Bucharest, Solenoid begins with the diaristic reflections of a schoolteacher and expands into an existential, surrealist account of the narrator’s journey through different dimensions.

The prize “awards translators alongside authors, a choice as unusual as it is necessary”, said Cotter. “I am honoured to be recognised with as great an author as Mircea, from as great a literature as the Romanian, and I hold in my heart the community of Romanian translators, all those who translate the world’s smaller literatures, all those who translate.”

Other books shortlisted for the award were Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry, Haven by Emma Donoghue, If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery, The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr and Praiseworthy by Alexis Wright.

The prize, sponsored by Dublin city council, is open to novels published in or translated to English. Solenoid is the first novel translated from Romanian to win the award since its inception in 1996.

Books are nominated by public libraries around the world – this year, the longlist of 70 titles was nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries. Solenoid was put forward by the Octavian Goga library in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by Trinity College Dublin professor Chris Morash, and featured poet and translator Ingunn Snædal, writer Irenosen Okojie, writer and translator Anton Hur, American University of Paris professor Daniel Medin, and University College Dublin associate professor Lucy Collins.

On Wednesday, Pushkin Press acquired the rights to publish Solenoid in the UK and Ireland from US publisher Deep Vellum. Pushkin will publish a paperback of the novel on 6 June.

Previous winners of the award include Colm Tóibín, Valeria Luiselli, Anna Burns and Jim Crace. In 2023, Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich won the award for the novel Marzahn, Mon Amour.

Source: theguardian.com