It’s the largest cash literary prize for an English-language book, and author Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, Idaho, just won it. It’s the DUBLIN Literary Award, and the Idaho-raised writer is the fourth American to receive it.
“I cannot express how grateful I am to be the recipient of this astonishingly generous award,” Ruskovich wrote in a press release. “It is difficult to know how to respond to the magnitude of this kindness that has been so suddenly bestowed upon me.”
Ruskovich was raised in the Idaho Panhandle, and her debut novel, Idaho, tells the story of a family wrecked by a mother’s murder of her child. It was released to rave reviews in early 2017, and Boise Weekly spoke with Ruskovich soon thereafter about her inspiration for the book.
“I remember that my family was gathering firewood on a mountain parallel to the mountain we lived on, so far away from everything. We were putting wood in the back of my father’s truck. I remember the crows, the birch wood. … It was so beautiful,” she said. “I also found that I was haunted by this place. I had this sense … It was a sense that something had happened exactly there. I felt the possibility of something terrible happening.”
The DUBLIN Literary Award is one of the most prestigious recognitions of its kind in the world, and with a cash prize of €100,000 (nearly $113,000), it’s the most lucrative. Over 24 years, it has grown Dublin’s reputation as an international capital of literature, drawing from public libraries around the world for nominations, from which a winner is selected by a panel. Idaho was nominated for the award by the public library in Bruges, Belgium.
“The international DUBLIN Literary Award is a great Dublin success and an even greater international success, our thanks go to all who are involved in making the Award work—writers, translators, publishers, librarians, and the administrative staff of the City Council,” wrote Lord Mayor & Patron of the Award Paul McAuliffe.