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Dublin Literary Award Longlist: Two Ghanaian Authors Up For €100,000 Prize

Ghanaian authors, Sharon Dodua Otoo and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s books have been longlisted for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award, one of the world’s most significant literature prizes.

Otoo and Adjei-Brenyah’s works are among 70 books nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries around the world. From Africa, three other authors – Nigerian Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Mozambique Mia Couto, and another Nigerian Chidi Ebere, join Otoo and Brenyah on that list.

“This year’s longlist is an eclectic mix of world literature taking the reader on a journey through different cultures and traditions and highlights the importance of our shared literary imagination and the power of the written word,” said Patron of the Award, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste at the launch of the award.

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In March, an international panel of judges will announce shortlisted authors, and a winner announced in May. The winning single work of fiction is worth €100,000. If the winning book is an English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000.

Here are Otoo and Adjei-Brenyah’s book titles that made it to the nomination

Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Sharon Dodua Otoo’s debut novel, Ada’s Realm, which was translated from German to English speaks of a story about four women from four worlds who share the same name, Ada. 

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Summary of the book

In a small village in what will become Ghana, Ada gives birth to a baby who does not live. As she grieves for her child, Portuguese traders arrive in the village, an event that will bear terrible repercussions for Ada and her kin. Centuries later, Ada will become the mathematician Ada Lovelace; Ada, a prisoner forced into prostitution in a concentration camp; and Ada, a pregnant Ghanaian woman who arrives in Berlin in 2019 for a fresh start. Ada is not one woman, but many, and she is all women. This debut from Sharon Dodua Otoo paints an astonishing picture of femininity and resilience with deep empathy and infinite imagination.

A New York Times bestselling author, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Chain-Gang All-Stars plays out a dystopian US where mainly black prisoners fight as gladiators for their freedom. The book according to a New York Times review is a subtly act of protest.

Summary of the book

Welcome to Chain-Gang All-Stars, the popular and highly controversial programme inside America’s private prison system. In packed arenas, live-streamed by millions, prisoners compete as gladiators for the ultimate prize: their freedom. Fan favourites Loretta Thurwar and Hamara ‘Hurricane Staxxx’ Stacker are teammates and lovers. Thurwar is nearing the end of her time on the circuit, free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares for her final encounters, as protestors gather at the gates, and as the programme’s corporate owners stack the odds against her – will the price be simply too high?

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