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Akhil Sharma wins International Dublin Literary Award

American author Akhil Sharma has won the 2016 International Dublin Literary Award for his novel Family Life.

Uniquely, the 100,000 euro award – organised and sponsored by Dublin City Council – receives its nominations from public libraries in cities across the globe.

The winner was announced at a ceremony at Dublin’s Mansion House.

Sharma said: “To be acknowledged by people I respect is a strange thing. I can’t say I fooled them. I feel abashed by this honour.”

Family Life was chosen from a total of 160 titles nominated by 118 cities in 43 countries. Shortlisted authors included Dave Eggers, Michel Laub, Mary Costello and Javier Cercas.

The author is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University in New Jersey and has previously won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His other works include An Obedient Father.

Sharma was born in Delhi, India, and moved with his family to the US at the age of eight.

Similarly, the novel tells the story of eight-year-old Ajay, whose family move from Delhi to the US in 1978.

But tragedy strikes the family, leaving one brother severely brain-damaged and the other lost in a strange land. Ajay must find his way through the ruins of his family’s new life.

Sharma is the third American author to win the prize in its 21-year history.

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Lord Mayor and patron Criona Ni Dhalaigh said: “Initiatives such as this award have consolidated Dublin’s position as a centre of literary excellence on the world stage.

Dublin’s rich literary and cultural life makes Dublin a great destination for tourists, for students and for overseas businesses, and indeed adds to the quality of life for all of us.”


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