Two Pakistani novelists, Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid, have been shortlisted for the 2019 International Dublin Literary Award.
Shamsie’s Home Fire and Hamid’s Exit West made it to the list. Shamsie announced the good news in an Instagram post on April 4.
The award is given annually and a prize of €100,000 is awarded to the author of the winning book. However, if the winning book is an English translation, €75,000 is awarded to the author and €25,000 to the translator.
Their novels have been nominated alongside eight others from across the world — Compass by Mathias Enard, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty, Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor, Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert.
Shamsie is a Pakistani writer based in the UK. Born in the early 1970s, she has many accolades to her credit, including the 1999 Prime Minister’s Award for Literature and the Muslim Writers Award in 2009.
Hamid was born in 1971 in Lahore. He moved to the US at the age of 18 and has written five novels. He is the recipient of the 2013 Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize, the 2008 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the 2001 Hemingway Award and many others.
Exit West is a story of two young people, Nadia and Saeed, who meet in a country on the brink of civil war. Nadia is feisty and independent and Saeed is restrained and introverted. Both embark on a love affair and are soon drawn away by the unrest of their city. The couple finds a way to escape the bomb blasts and decide to go into an uncertain future, both being each other’s only hope. It is a story of courage, love, and loyalty.
The judging panel will select one winner which will be announced on June 12.