American author Emily Ruskovich has won the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award for her novel Idaho. The Award is organised and sponsored by Dublin City Council and at €100,000 is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English. Emily Ruskovich is the fourth American author to win the prize in its 24-year history.
Uniquely, the Award receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognises both writers and translators. The winner was announced at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House this evening, which was live-streamed on the International DUBLIN Literary Award Facebook page to allow people from across the world to tune in to the event.
Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle, on Hoodoo Mountain. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story and the Virginia Quarterly Review. A winner of a 2015 O. Henry Award and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she now teaches creative writing in the M.F.A. programme at Boise State University. She lives in Idaho City with her husband and baby daughter. The winning novel was chosen from a total of 141 titles, nominated by libraries in 115 cities across 41 countries. It was first published by Chatto & Windus in the UK and by Random House in the USA.
Commenting on her win, Emily Ruskovich said; ‘I cannot express how grateful I am to be the recipient of this astonishingly generous award. It is difficult to know how to respond to the magnitude of this kindness that has been so suddenly bestowed upon me. I feel shocked. I feel humbled. I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of my gratitude. I am especially honoured because of the admiration that I feel for the other finalists, authors from all over the world who are all doing such crucial and beautiful work. Seeing my name beside theirs when the shortlist was announced—that alone was one of the greatest honours of my career.’
One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.
But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.