The judges for the International DUBLIN Literary Award first read the nominated novels last August. They whittled 160 books down to a shortlist of ten, before picking Family Life as the winner. "Because it's a celebration of global literature, you're getting every kind of novel imaginable," comments Ian Sansom. "I think it would be very difficult to try to identify any trends ... but one thing I did notice were tales of movement, of migration across borders." Both he and fellow judge Carlo Gébler noticed an appropriation of the past for modern purposes. "There is a desire to recalibrate the past, to make it the present, and there's a nervousness about Otherness, about nonconformity, about inappropriateness, and people want to make the past now, which is a very strange thing to want to do," says Gébler. "It's recalibrated so it's comforting; the weirdness of the past is sometimes not respected."
Commenting on the fact that so many of the novels are in translation, Sansom says "you get well-translated books and you get badly-translated books. Translation is an art form in and of itself." Gebler relished the opportunity to discover writers. "One tends to only know about one's own parish. What the experience does is introduce you to other parishes, and you see how strong they are." The Brazilian novelists, in particular, "were absolutely superb." (Diary of the Fall by Brazilian Michel Laub was shortlisted for the prize.)
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