Does Ireland really host one of the world's richest literary prizes?
We heard earlier today that eight Irish authors have been nominated for 'one of the world's richest literary prizes'. We want to know what exactly the award is and who the eight authors are?
What’s all this I’m hearing about some Irish authors being up for a ‘rich’ book award?
Well the ‘rich book award’ in question is actually the IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award. It’s known as ‘one of the world’s richest literary prizes’ because it’s in the top 20 richest awards; the Nobel Prize for Literature comes in at number one with a prize of €1million. The IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award hands out a cool €100,000.
Wait a minute, it’s in Dublin? How long has this been going on for?
Yes, surprisingly enough, the IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is held in Dublin. A total of 154 books have been nominated for the 2013 Award and they’re giving people the opportunity to have a read of them before the winner is announced.
The five judges will also have to read all 154 novels in order to pick the best, so that's partly why the 'longlist' has been announced now. The judges are comprised of the Irish author Patrick McCabe, Salim Bachi, an Algerian novelist, Krista Kaer, an Estonian translator, Kamila Shamsie, a novelist from Pakistan based in London and Clive Sinclair, a British author.
The award was first given out back in 1996 and this year sees the most Irish novelists nominated since its inception.
But what exactly is the award? What’s it for and who gets to decide who's in it?
Well, The IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is an international literary award for a work of fiction and authors are nominated by libraries from all over the world. Books don’t have to be written in English in order to be nominated but they have to be at least translated from their native language - so it’s a fairly prestigious international award.
Basically, a library anywhere in the world could nominate your book for the award, even though you're not from that country or you've never been to it.
Oh right, so who are the Irish novelists up for the €100,000 award?
The Irish titles up for the nomination are:
On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry, nominated by San Diego Public Library, USA and by Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland.
City of Bohane by Kevin Barry, nominated by Cork City Libraries, Limerick City Library and Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland.
The Absolutist by John Boyne, nominated by Liverpool City Library & Information Services, UK and Tampere City Library, Finland.
The Dulang Washer by Paul Callan, nominated by The National Library of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpar.
Long Time, No See by Dermot Healy nominated by Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway and The Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia.
The Cold Eye of Heaven by Christine Dwyer Hickey, nominated by Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway.
Twice Born by (Irish/Italian) author Margaret Mazzantini, nominated by Waterford County Library, Ireland and by Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, Italy.
Double Talk by Patrick Warner (now living in Canada), nominated by The Provincial Resource Library, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
I see, well fair play to them. So what’s the ‘must read’ book out of the lot?
Well the most nominated book is The Sense of an Ending by English writer, Julian Barnes, which received 15 nominations from libraries in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.
So it’s a safe bet that it’s a good read. It’s available for next to nothing over on Amazon.