With its staggering 100,000 € prize, I’m wondering how I hadn’t heard of this before embarking upon the Literary Ramblings? Is this a well-known event?
Presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English, and one of the largest single prizes in the world in monetary terms, the award is an initiative of Dublin City Council, and is now in its 20th year.
The winner for 2014 has just been named as Jim Crace for “Harvest”, a story that tells the tale of an English village reaching the end of an era, now on my Hit List, which earns J.C. the ultimate accolade of being considered by the judges as “a consummate wordsmith; his understanding of human nature is uncanny and he never drops a stitch from start to finish”. Love the idea that “All human life is here: its graces and disgraces and there is life too in every small stone, flower and blade of grass.” Also love the fact that in his interview with The Guardian, Crace has announced his intention to now be able to retire and consider writing purely and simply as a hobby with none of the pressures of being under contract with publishers for the next book.
By the by, fascinating to skim your eyes down the list of the 400 libraries worldwide that were asked to send in their nominations and spot the cultural differences that abound.
On the IMPAC shortlist, some by now familiar titles popping up again:
“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – read, 10/10
“Les Étoiles de Sidi Moumen” / “The Horses of God” by Mahi Binebine
“The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan (about to read)
“Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent – read, 10/10
“K” by Bernardo Kucinski
“Le Livre des Brèves Amours Éternelles” / “Brief Loves That Live Forever” by Andrei Makine (about to read “The Woman Who Waited”, following S’s recommendation)
“TransAtlantic” by Colum McCann (on Wish List, top favourite read “Let The Great World Spin 12/10, but struggled with “Zoli”, 6/10).
“Someone” by Alice McDermott
“Sparta” by Roxana Robinson.
While the spotlight is on Dublin, have also just read about another of the City Council’s bright ideas – they have embraced the ‘One City, One Book’ project, set up in 1998 and a movement to encourage entire cities to read one single book during a given month of the year. The current choice is Roddy Doyle’s “The Barrytown Trilogy”, comprised of “The Commitments”, “The Snapper” and “The Van”, and the future 2016 choice will be declared sometime soon, watch this space.
Brighton and Hove hold the longest record for these City Reads, and celebrated their 10th anniversary this year by opting for “The Humans” by Matt Haig, who says of this choice – “I originally wrote the book as a kind of advert for the human race and I wanted it to be a story that as many people as possible could enjoy”. Hoping to add my name to the list of those who have read what S J Watson praises as “a brilliant exploration of what it is to love, and to be human”… will let you know…