IRISH AUTHOR Kevin Barry has won the coveted 2013 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award for his debut novel, City of Bohane.
Barry, who hails from Limerick and lives in Sligo, is the author of two award-winning short story collections.
The Award is organised by Dublin City Libraries on behalf of Dublin City Council and sponsored by IMPAC – and offers a cool €100,000 prize for a single novel published in English. The award is presented annually to promote excellence in world literature.
The IMPAC DUBLIN receives its nominations from public libraries around the globe and this year’s competition included a total of 153 titles, nominated by 160 libraries from 44 countries. City of Bohane was nominated by Cork, Dublin and Limerick City Libraries.
“The fact that this award originates with the libraries is what makes it very special for me – libraries are where we learn that we can live our lives through books,” Barry commented tonight after receiving the award.
Ten novels were placed in the shortlist by an international panel of judges: The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq, Pure by Andrew Miller, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am by Kjersti Skomsvold, and Caesarion by Tommy Wieringa.
Announcing the winner at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House this evening, Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Naoise Ó Muirí, described City of Bohane as “a vivid, atmospheric portrayal of a city in the West of Ireland set in the future but mired in the past. The highly original cast of characters are at once flamboyant and malevolent, speaking in a vernacular like no other”.
The judges said: “Kevin Barry’s Ireland of 2053 is a place you may not want to be alive in but you’ll certainly relish reading about. This is not a future of shiny technology but one in which history turns in circles and quirks an eyebrow at the idea of ‘progress’.”
Kevin Barry is the third Irish author to win the prize. It was awarded to Colm Tóibín in 2006 for The Master and to Colum McCann in 2011 for Let the Great World Spin.