Today at the opening of the International Literature Festival Dublin, Dublin’s Lord Mayor Hazel Chu announced that Valeria Luiselli has won the 2021 Dublin Literary Award for Lost Children Archive, her first English-language novel. At €100,000, the award is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.
The judging panel praised Lost Children Archive, which follows a family on a summer road trip to Arizona as the children try to understand both their parents’ conflict and the news of thousands of children lost at the U.S. border, as “a richly textured novel that reminds us that the novel is always capable of being pushed in new directions. As the title suggests, this is the novel as archive, as a repository of memory.”
Luiselli, in her acceptance speech, spoke about the power of literature in difficult times: “Without books—without sharing in the company of others’ experiences—we would not have made it through these months. If our spirits have found renewal, if we have found strength to carry on, if we have maintained a sense of enthusiasm for life, it is thanks to the worlds that books have given us.”