Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s “When We Were Fireflies” makes waves on Dublin Literary Award Longlist

Nigerian writer and journalist Abubakar Adam Ibrahim has clinched a coveted spot on the longlist for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award with his acclaimed novel, When We Were Fireflies.

This acknowledgment not only solidifies Ibrahim’s standing as a literary force but also places his work among 70 remarkable books nominated by 80 libraries worldwide for this prestigious accolade. 

The Dublin Literary Award, established in 1996 and sponsored by Dublin City Council, boasts a substantial prize of €100,000, making it one of the most lucrative honours in the literary realm.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, known for his distinguished literary contributions, previously garnered attention with his debut short-story collection, The Whispering Trees, which was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014. 

His first novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms, was published in 2015 by Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria and by Cassava Republic Press in the UK (2016). Season of Crimson Blossoms won the Nigeria Prize for Literature, worth $100,000 the same year.

His literary journey continues with When We Were Fireflies, a novel that has left an indelible mark on the literary landscape.

The longlist, comprising novels from 35 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania, is a testament to the global reach of contemporary literature. Notably, novels by four Irish authors, including Sebastian Barry and Joseph O’Connor, grace the esteemed list, adding an eclectic mix to the diverse collection.

The competition is fierce, with 31 novels in translation and 16 debut novelists vying for the coveted award. The translated works span 14 languages, showcasing the rich tapestry of global storytelling. If a translated work emerges victorious, the author receives €75,000, while the translator is awarded €25,000.

The shortlist for the Dublin Literary Award will be unveiled on March 26, 2024, with the winner to be announced on May 23, 2024, during the International Literature Festival Dublin. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, will do the honours.

Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens, expressed gratitude to the judging panel, led by Chair Professor Chris Morash, for their commitment to the award process. The panel comprises an international array of literary experts, including Nigerian British author Irenosen Okojie, Professor Daniel Medin, Lucy Collins, Anton Hur, and Ingunn Snædal.

As readers eagerly await the unfolding of this literary journey, the diverse longlist invites exploration into 70 captivating narratives from around the world. The 2024 Dublin Literary Award promises to be a celebration of the shared literary imagination and the enduring power of the written word.

Brought to you by @DubCity Council with kind support from @dubcilib and @DublinCityofLit. Discover the 2024 Longlist at bit.ly/DLA_2024.


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