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€100k IMPAC award goes to author of Colombian thriller

Juan Gabriel Vásquez will share the award for The Sound of Things Falling with his translator Anne McClean.

THE WINNER OF the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is a book that takes in drugs and violence in modern-day Colombia.

The author of The Sound of Things Falling, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, was named as the winner, and will receive €75,000, while his translator Anne McClean will receive €25,000.

Vásquez is the author of two previous novels, The Informers and The Secret History of Costaguana, and his books have been published in fifteen languages worldwide.

1536654_737478979606565_5416306900608581482_n Source: IMPAC via Facebook

The winning novel was chosen from a total of 152 titles, nominated by 150 libraries from 39 countries.

Vásquez said of his win:

For me, it’s all about the names: the names of writers who have received the award before me and whose work I’ve admired and looked up to; but particularly the name of James Joyce. I have often said that there are two books that made me want to become a writer: One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I read when I was 16, and Ulysses, which I read three years later. I’ve always felt at home in Dublin and in Irish literature. So in more ways than one, this prize is a sort of homecoming.

There had been hopes at home that Irish writer Donal Ryan would win with his novel The Spinning Heart, but competition was tough. The following books were also nominated:

  • Absolution by Patrick Flanery
  • The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker
  • Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser
  • A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgard
  • Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
  • Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman
  • The Light of Amsterdam by David Park
  • The Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan.

Here’s what the judges said about why they chose the book:

The Sound of Things Falling is a consummate literary thriller that resonates long after the final page. Through a masterly command of layered time periods, spiralling mysteries and a noir palette, it reveals how intimate lives are overshadowed by history; how the past preys on the present; and how the fate of individuals as well as countries is moulded by distant, or covert, events.

The IMPAC is the world’s most valuable literary award, and Vásquez told TheJournal.ie that his money will go towards “writing books”, jokingly adding: “and making sure my daughters don’t starve”.

The 2014 Judging Panel included Irish author, Catherine DunneMalaysian novelist Tash Aw; Giles FodenBritish novelist and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia; Maya Jaggi, award winning cultural journalist and critic for Guardian Review and Maciej Świerkocki, Polish translator, critic, scriptwriter, novelist and editor. The non-voting Chairperson was Eugene R Sullivan.

Read: How a childhood in dangerous Colombia inspired an award-winning novel>

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