Mircea Cartarescu’s novel Solenoid wins Dublin Literary Award for 2024

The novel Solenoid by Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu, in the English rendition by Seán Cotter, is the winner of the Dublin Literary Award for 2024, announced on Thursday.

Published by Deep Vellum, Solenoid is the first book translated from Romanian to be named a winner in the 29-year history of this award and the only translated novel present on this year’s short list of the Dublin Literary Award.

The EUR 100,000 prize is sponsored by Dublin City Council and is the world’s largest for a single novel published in English. Mircea Cartarescu will receive EUR 75,000, and the book’s translator Seán Cotter will receive EUR 25,000. Solenoid is the 12th novel in translation to win this prize for which public libraries around the world submit nominations.

Solenoid, which is based on Cartarescu’s role as a secondary-school teacher, is grounded in the realities of life in communist Romania in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including long lines for groceries, the absurdities of the educational system and the misery of family life. The book begins as a diary recording the details of everyday life, but quickly spirals into a philosophical account of life, history, philosophy and mathematics.

“By turns wildly inventive, philosophical and lyrical, with passages of great beauty, Solenoid is the work of a major European writer who is still relatively little known to English-language readers,” the judging panel said. “Seán Cotter’s translation of the novel sets out to change that situation, capturing the lyrical precision of the original, thereby opening up Cartarescu’s work to an entirely new readership.”

Mircea Cartarescu, who has published more than 25 books and whose work has been translated in 23 languages, said the award is one of his most significant literary achievements. “It shows an increase in my image as a writer in the English-speaking world after the publication of Solenoid, my breakthrough novel. I am grateful to the jury who chose my book from so many other wonderful ones,” Cartarescu said, according to

The novel Solenoid was nominated by the “Octavian Goga” Cluj County Library.