Shortlist for Dalkey Literary Awards 2021 announced

€30,000 prize fund for Irish writers to be awarded at the Dalkey Book Festival in June.

The shortlist for this year’s Dalkey Literary Awards presented by Zurich has been announced by the Dalkey Book Festival, in conjunction with Zurich Insurance.  The winners of the 2021 ‘Novel of the Year’ and ‘Emerging Writer’ Awards, which boast prize funds of €20,000 and €10,000 respectively, will be announced as part of the hugely popular Dalkey Book Festival which will return - virtually - from 18th to 20th June.

The 12 shortlisted authors comprise six established Irish literary favourites in the ‘Novel of the Year’ category and six up-and-coming writers across a range of genres who have been nominated for the ‘Emerging Writer’ award.  

The shortlisted authors and books are:

Novel of the Year
  1. 1. Anne Enright - Actress
    2. Colum McCann - Apeirogon

    3. Donal Ryan - Strange Flowers
    Hilary Fannin - The Weight of Love
    Maggie O’Farrell - Hamnet
    Roddy Doyle - Love
Emerging Writer
  1. 1. Caoilinn Hughes - The Wild Laughter
  2. 2. Dara McAnulty - Diary of a Young Naturalist
  3. 3. Elaine Feeney - As You Were
  4. 4. Naoise Dolan - Exciting Times
  5. 5. Patrick Freyne - OK Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea
  6. 6. Seán Hewitt - Tongues of Fire

Sian Smyth, Director of the Dalkey Book Festival said: “It’s such a thrill to be announcing the 12 shortlisted authors for this year’s Dalkey Literary Awards in this, our second year of the Awards.  The Dalkey Book Festival and our partners Zurich (Insurance) are so proud to support Irish writers and Irish writing with this significant €30,000 prize fund again this year, and while many of those shortlisted are household names, it’s wonderful to see the breadth of exciting, new home-grown talent too.

While the cultural sector has been decimated over the last 12 months, thankfully books have had a good year.  2020 saw Ireland’s strongest print book sales in more than a decade with sales up around 10%; we’d like to think that books have provided solace, companionship, entertainment and a glimmer of hope for readers across all genres.  We were devastated having to cancel the festival last year so this year, we are determined to bring our loyal festival supporters a 2021 Dalkey Book Festival to remember, and we’re so excited to have the winner announcements as part of this year’s programme.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO Zurich Insurance said: “Literature has been a source of deep comfort to many of us during the challenging reality of a global pandemic. We feel the joy of reading a great book more than ever, and I am delighted to see a wonderful selection of books from a range of inspiring authors in the shortlists again this year. Congratulations to the authors and best of luck to our judges who have a difficult job ahead.”

The Judging Panels for this year’s Dalkey Literary Awards are:

Novel of the Year: Róisín Ingle (chair), Paschal Donohoe TD and Sinéad Gleeson      

Emerging Writer: Dearbhail McDonald (chair), Aideen Howard and Declan Hughes

Set in the beautiful seaside town of Dalkey in County Dublin, the Dalkey Book Festival has been playing host to some of the greatest authors and thinkers from across the globe since 2010. The festival celebrates literature, theatre, film and comedy as well as ideas, exploring the worlds of science, technology, current affairs, new politics and global trends. After a year’s absence in 2020 due to the pandemic, the 2021 festival will take place between 18th and 20th June with a stellar line up of Irish and international speakers. For news updates visit and follow @dalkeybookfest on social media.

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