One of the judges for Hot Press' recent Write Here, Write Now competition has been awarded the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.
The Mayo-native’s novel Solar Bones has earned McCormack the prestigious prize. The book was published in 2016 by independent Irish publisher Tramp Press, the first Irish publisher to win the award.
Solar Bones has also won the Goldsmiths Prize, the Novel of the Year Award and Book of the Year awards at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. It has been a critical and commercial success, with more than 8,000 copies sold, earning over €100,000. The book has been praised by critics and fans alike for its experimental and fragmented structure, with The New York Times hailing it as “a stylistically daring novel” and “a pleasure to read.”
The judges of the competition deemed McCormack’s novel “formally ambitious, stylistically dauntless and linguistically spirited, Solar Bones is a novel of extraordinary assurance and scope”. They also said that the novel was an “extremely enjoyable read, it is also poignant, moving and evocative. Although firmly committed to its particular Mayo setting, this is a novel of universal appeal: if you know Ireland, you will recognise this world; but if you don’t, you will still recognise Marcus Conway.” McCormack’s prize of €100,000 is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.
Among those shortlisted for the honour were Yuri Herrera for The Transmigration of Bodies, Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton, Han Kang for his novel Human Acts and the other Irish candidate, Eimear McBride for The Lesser Bohemians.
Previous winners include José Eduardo Agualusa, Akhil Sharma and Jim Crace as well as Irish authors Colm Tóibín, Colum McCann and Kevin Barry.
On his triumph, McCormack said: “Winning this is... huge. Seeing the book stand shoulder to shoulder with writers I admire, and to be chosen from among those nine other books from all round the world and in six different languages, and chosen by a jury from all round the world. I just couldn’t believe it when I was told about it.”