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The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter wins the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award

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Art of Losing

By Writing.ie

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French author Alice Zeniter and Irish translator Frank Wynne have been announced today as winners of the 2022 DUBLIN Literary Award, sponsored by Dublin City Council, for the novel The Art of Losing (published by Picador, Pan MacMillan). The Award is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.

Uniquely, the Award receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognises both writers and translators. Author Alice Zeniter receives €75,000 and Frank Wynne, as translator, receives €25,000.  Frank was a previous winner in 2002, as translator of Atomised by Michel Houellebecq. The Art of Losing is the 10th novel in translation to win the Dublin Literary Prize.

The winning title was announced today at a special event, at International Literature Festival Dublin, which runs until 29th May.  Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Alison Gilliland made the announcement and Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, presented the prizes to Alice and Frank at the International Literature Festival Dublin Literary Village in Merrion Square Park.

Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Alison Gilliland remarked:

With its themes of colonisation and immigration, The Art of Losing, which follows three generations of an Algerian family from the 1950s to the present day, highlights how literature can increase our understanding of the world. I’d like to congratulate Alice Zeniter and Frank Wynne and thank all who are involved in the award – writers, translators, librarians, publishers and the administrative staff of Dublin City Council.”

Nominated by Bibliothèque publique d’information, in the Pompidou Centre, Paris, the winning novel was chosen from a shortlist of six novels by writers from Ireland, Nigeria, New Zealand, France and Canada.

The longlist of 79 titles was nominated by 94 libraries from 40 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, the US, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Accepting her award, winner Alice Zeniter said:

When I was writing the Art of Losing, I was almost certain that it was a niche novel. This book’s life, even five years after its release, keeps surprising me. I am really happy and thrilled that the Dublin Literary Award shows me today that this story can be shared with readers from different countries, readers who grew up outside the French post-colonial Empire. Readers that, maybe, had never thought about Algeria before opening the book. How crazy is that?

Translator Frank Wynne:

“In a very real sense, I owe my career as a literary translator to the Dublin Literary Award, a prize I cherish because it makes no distinction between English and translated fiction, treating authors and translators as co-weavers of the  endless braid of literature.”

About The Art of Losing:

Art of Losing

Naïma has always known that her family came from Algeria – but up until now, that meant very little to her. Born and raised in France, her knowledge of that foreign country is limited to what she’s learned from her grandparents’ tiny flat in a crumbling French sink estate: the food cooked for her, the few precious things they brought with them when they fled.

On the past, her family is silent. Why was her grandfather Ali forced to leave? Was he a harki – an Algerian who worked for and supported the French during the Algerian War of Independence? Once a wealthy landowner, how did he become an immigrant scratching a living in France?

Naïma’s father, Hamid, says he remembers nothing. A child when the family left, in France he re-made himself: education was his ticket out of the family home, the key to acceptance into French society.

But now, for the first time since they left, one of Ali’s family is going back. Naïma will see Algeria for herself, will ask the questions about her family’s history that, till now, have had no answers.

Spanning three generations across seventy years, Alice Zeniter’s The Art of Losing tells the story of how people carry on in the face of loss: the loss of a country, an identity, a way to speak to your children. It’s a story of colonization and immigration, and how in some ways, we are a product of the things we’ve left behind.

Order your copy online here.

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