Book lists

12 books on the International Dublin Literary Award longlist 2020

It’s that time of year again: the longlist for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award, the world’s richest literary prize, has been announced.

There are 156 titles on the list — from all corners of the world — all of which have been nominated by librarians, making it a proper “readers’ prize”.

Here are just a dozen titles, which I have reviewed on the blog over the past year or so. Note that inclusion here does not necessarily mean I recommend the book, only that I have read and reviewed it.

The books have been arranged in alphabetical order by author surname. Click on each book title to read my review in full.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (Ireland)
Rip-roaring and deliciously entertaining read about a writer with questionable ethics.

French exit

French Exit by Patrick deWitt (Canada)
Delightfully kooky story about a matriarch fallen on hard times who flees to Paris with her adult son and a talking cat.

Washington Black

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)
Occasionally preposterous adventure tale focussed on a young slave rescued from a Barbados sugar plantation.

The Lost Man

The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Australia)
Award-winning (but poorly written) murder mystery set in the Far North Queensland outback.

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko (Australia)
Brash and gritty novel about an aboriginal family fighting to save their land from development.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Australia)
Best-selling tale based on the true story of a Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942.

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Japan)
An ode to remaining true to your self when the rest of the world sees you as an outsider.

Travelling in a strange land

Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park (Ireland)
Evocative and gently written tale of a recently bereaved man driving across the UK in a snow storm to rescue his son who has fallen ill.

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland)
Stylish, award-winning novel that follows an on-off romance between two Millennials over the course of four years.


Lullaby by Leila Slimani (France)
Confronting story that centres around a rather abhorrent crime carried out by a seemingly perfect au pair.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland)
A crime story with a difference narrated by an eccentric older woman who lives in a remote Polish village.

The shepherd's hut by Tim Winton

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton (Australia)
Engaging, fast-paced story about a teenage boy on the run across the Australian outback.

The prize shortlist will be published on 2 April 2020, and the winner will be announced on 10 June. To find out more, and to view the longlist in full, please visit the official website.

Have you read any of these books? Or others from the extensive longlist?

14 thoughts on “12 books on the International Dublin Literary Award longlist 2020”

  1. I’ve read (and loved) the two Australians! 😉 Didn’t like the Canadian (Washington Black) too much. Preposterous is a great way to describe it.

    This is one list I really enjoy. It reminds me of all the good books still in my TBR, and a lot of books on my wishlist.

    This year’s audit reveals 7 read, 13 in the TBR, and 13 on the wish-list.

    Guess that’s me sorted till the end of the year (at least).


    1. Yes, it’s an odd book but fairly typical of many of the modern Japanese novels I’ve read which are often about alienation and outsiders living in a conformist society.


  2. I’ve read a good number of the Canadian books on the list, but I’ve also read Convenience Store Woman and American Marriage. I would love to read the Boyne and the Winton.
    I love that you can look at this list and already tick off a bunch of books!


  3. Normal People is on my list; I only recently got to Conversations With Friends so I’m pretty behind but the reviews seem to suggest it’s even better.

    Of those on the website I’ve read Claire Fuller’s Bitter Orange which is really good and Jessie Greengrass’ Sight (no surprise there!). The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is on my Christmas list.


    1. I think I am one of those rare people that thinks Conversations with Friends was better than Normal People… but I also think the books are over-rated. Yes, they’re great reads and present interesting points of view, but the books are so similar that I’d really like to see her do something TOTALLY different with the next book to prove that she really is the amazing writer everyone claims her to be.


  4. I’ve read 5 of your selection (De Witt, Harper, Edugyan, Murata, Leilani – of which the Murata is my favourite with De Witt next. Looking at the whole list, I’ve read 15 from the whole list which is chock-full of other stuff I’d love to read.


I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a comment below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.