Irish-language arts are hitting dizzying heights in recent weeks. On the back of the phenomenal success of Irish language feature film, An Cailín Ciúin at the Berlin Film Festival, comes another resounding affirmation that creative voices in Irish can break through on the international scene.
Barzaz, the new literary imprint of Galway-based publisher, Futa Fata, is delighted to announce that their first publication, MADAME LAZARE by Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, has been nominated for the European Prize for Literature, 2022.
The annual prize appears this year in a revamped format: fourteen countries from across the European continent have nominated one novel each to represent their country. The ultimate winner, as well as five special mentions in various categories, will be announced during the opening ceremony at the Paris Book Fair on 21 April 2022.
Fittingly, MADAME LAZARE is a contemporary story that spans Europe. Starting on the edge of the Atlantic in the Aran Islands, the unravelling of familial secrets takes us from Brussels to Paris and back to the west coast of Ireland.
The book tells the story of a young French woman, Levana, who has always been proud of her Jewish heritage and the generations of women who went before her, including her grandmother, Hana Lazare, a native of Estonia, the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust.
But as Hana succumbs to old age and her mind becomes increasingly confused, fragments of her memory emerge that surprise and puzzle Levana, leading her to ultimately question everything that her grandmother has ever told her about her past.
Madame Lazare won the An Post Irish Book Awards, Best Irish Language Book of the Year 2021, and was shortlisted for Gradam Uí Shuilleabháin 2021. Prior to publication, a draft of the novel was awarded first prize in Comórtais Liteartha An Oireachtais 2020, the Oireachtas na Gaeilge annual literary prizes for unpublished work. The first edition sold out quickly and the second edition was released to shops last week.
Barzaz and Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin would like to thank Literature Ireland for nominating Madame Lazare and the Creative Europe Programme for this incredible recognition and endorsement of Irish-language Arts.