Good on you, Melbourne library, for choosing What the Family Needed, the forthcoming gay-inclusive novel by local gay author Steven Amsterdam, as your nomination for the IMPAC Dublin Award. And isn't it even more invigorating to see that a novel arguing gay culture as the foundation of all culture, Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child, is the nominee from seven places as diverse as Moscow, Belgium, Greece, Prague, New Zealand, London, and San Diego?
The IMPAC longlist is one of the best snapshots of international reading preferences. This year, libraries in 120 cities in 44 countries nominated 154 books, all in English now but originally published in 19 languages. Among queer books (some by straight authors) on the longlist are:
The Absolutist by John Boyne [nominated by Finland and Liverpool]
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach [eight U.S. cities and Belgium]
The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai [Tallahassee]
Damned by Chuck Palahniuk [Naples, Italy]
The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst [seven cities]
We the Animals by Justin Torres [NYC and Hartford]
What the Family Needed by Steven Amsterdam [Melbourne]
Although I'm not familiar with all 154 books, the list noticeably lacks lesbians.
The year's overall most nominated book is Julian Barnes' Booker winner The Sense of an Ending, chosen by fifteen libraries. The Sisters Brothers is nominated ten times and The Tiger's Wife tied with The Art of Fielding at nine. Last year, Emma Donoghue's Room earned twenty nominations.