Saturday, April 14, 2007

IMPAC Dublin Award Shortlist 07

A shortlist of 8 books for the 12th Annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2007, the world's largest literary prize (ˆ100,000) for a single work of fiction, is announced in The Mansion House, Dublin today (Wednesday 4th April) by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Vincent Jackson. The 8 titles were selected from a longlist of 138, nominated by 169 libraries from 49 countries and from 129 cities; 28 titles were in translation, covering 15 non-English languages.

The shortlisted titles are:-

A Long, Long Way -Sebastian Barry

Arthur & George -Julian Barnes

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close -Jonathan Safran Foer

No Country For Old Men -Cormac McCarthy

Out Stealing Horses -Per Petterson

Shalimar the Clown -Salman Rushdie

Slow Man -JM Coetzee

The Short Dying Day -Peter Hobbs

The Winner will be announced on

14th June 2007, in City Hall, Dublin

A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

One of the most vivid and realised characters of recent fiction, Willie Dunne is the innocent hero of Sebastian Barry's highly acclaimed novel. Leaving Dublin to fight for the Allied cause as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, he finds himself caught between the war playing out on foreign fields and that festering at home, waiting to erupt with the Easter Rising. Profoundly moving, intimate and epic, A Long Long Way charts and evokes a terrible coming of age, one too often written out of history.

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His play The Steward of Christendom, first produced in 1995, won many awards and has been seen around the world. He is the author of two highly acclaimed novels, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998) and Annie Dunne (2002). His most recent play, Whistling Psyche, premiered at The Almeida, London, in 2004.

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events, which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages.

With a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long-forgotten case, but also the inner lives of these two very different men. The reader sees them both with stunning clarity, and almost inhabits them as they face the vicissitudes of their lives, whether in the dock hearing a verdict of guilty, or trying to live an honourable life while desperately in love with another woman. This is a novel in which the events of a hundred years ago constantly set off contemporary echoes, a novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race; about what we think, what we believe, and what we know. Julian Barnes has long been recognised as one of Britain's most remarkable writers. While those already familiar with his work will enjoy its elegance, its wit, its profound wisdom about the human condition, Arthur & George will surely find him an entirely new audience.

Julian Barnes is the author of eight novels, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, England, England and Love Etc., and two collections of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

Jonathan Safran Foer was born in 1977. He is the editor of the anthology A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell, and his stories have been published in the Paris Review, Conjunctions and the New Yorker. Everything Is Illuminated, his first novel, won several literary prizes, including the National Jewish Book Award and the Guardian First Book Award in 2002. Hamish Hamilton publishes his second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in 2005.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones.
One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law-in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell-can contain.

As Moss tries to evade his pursuers-in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives-McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning's headlines.
No Country for Old Men is a triumph.

Cormac McCarthy is the author of nine previous novels. Among his honors are the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

In 1948, when he is fifteen, Trond spends a summer in the country with his father. The events - the accidental death of a child, his best friend's feelings of guilt and eventual disappearance, his father's decision to leave the family for another woman - will change his life forever. An early morning adventure out stealing horses leaves Trond bruised and puzzled by his friend Jon's sudden breakdown. The tragedy which lies behind this scene becomes the catalyst for the two boys' families gradually to fall apart. As a 67-year-old man, and following the death of his wife, Trond has moved to an isolated part of Norway to live in solitude. But a chance encounter with a character from the fateful summer of 1948 brings the painful memories of that year flooding back, and will leave Trond even more convinced of his decision to end his days alone.

Per Petterson was born in 1952 and was a librarian and bookseller before he published his first work, a volume of short stories, in 1987. Since then he has written three novels which have established his reputation as one of Norway's best fiction writers. To Siberia and In the Wake are also published by Harvill in English translation.

Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie

Shalimar the Clown is a masterpiece from one of our greatest writers, a dazzling novel that brings together the fiercest passions of the heart and the gravest conflicts of our time into an astonishingly powerful, all-encompassing story.
Max Ophuls' memorable life ends violently in Los Angeles in 1993 when he is murdered by his Muslim driver Noman Sher Noman, also known as Shalimar the Clown. At first the crime seems to be politically motivated - Ophuls was previously ambassador to India, and later US counterterrorism chief - but it is much more.

A powerful love story, intensely political and historically informed, Shalimar the Clown is also profoundly human, an involving story of people's lives, desires and crises - India Ophuls' desperate search for her real mother, for example; Max's wife's attempts to deal with his philandering - as well as, in typical Rushdie fashion, a magical tale where the dead speak and the future can be foreseen.

Salman Rushdie is the author of 8 previous novels - Grimus, Midnight's Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the "Booker of Bookers"), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Fury - and one collection of short stories, East, West. He has also published 5 works of non-fiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz, Mirrorwork and Step Across This Line.

Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee

When photographer Paul Rayment loses his leg in a bicycle accident, his solitary life is irrevocably changed whether he likes it or not. Stubbornly refusing a prosthesis, Paul returns to his bachelor's apartment in Adelaide, Australia, uncomfortable with his new dependency on others. He is given to bouts of hopelessness and resignation as he looks back on his sixty years of life, but his spirits are lifted when he finds himself falling in love with Marijana, his practical, down-to-earth Croatian nurse who is struggling to raise her family in a foreign land. As Paul contemplates how to win her heart, he is visited by the mysterious writer Elizabeth Costello, who challenges Paul to take an active role in his own life.
Like all great works of literature, Slow Man is a novel that asks questions but rarely provides answers; it is a portrait of a man in search of truth. The result is a deeply moving story about love and mortality that dazzles the reader on every page.

John Michael Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940. He studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa's highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Short Day Dying by Peter Hobbs

Charles Wenmoth is a young blacksmith and Methodist lay-preacher in the furthest, wildest reaches of south-west England. It is 1870 and preachers such as Wenmoth devote the weekdays to work and the Sabbath to walking great distances across country to preach morning and evening to ever dwindling congregations.
Wenmoth himself burns with faith, but it is a faith balanced by an instinctive agnosticism: a pleasure in nature and the reality of the world around him. His only distraction is a local blind girl, Harriet French, who he is drawn to by the faith she maintains despite her debilitating condition.

In a magical act of lyrical ventriloquism, Peter Hobbs' debut novel recreates a world on the brink of change and a character at the edge of crisis. Gloriously redemptive, powerful and compassionate, The Short Day Dying is a love story of great power and imaginative richness

Peter Hobbs grew up in Cornwall and Yorkshire, and lives in London. The Short Day Dying was shortlisted for the 2005 Whitbread First Novel Award. His collection of stories - I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train - is published by Faber in 2006. His stories have been published in Zembla and New Writing


The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was the initiative of Gay Mitchell, then Lord Mayor of Dublin and Dr. James B Irwin, Chairman of IMPAC in 1992.

The Award is a partnership between IMPAC and Dublin City Council. The first Award was presented in 1996 to Australian author David Malouf for Remembering Babylon. The Lord Mayor of Dublin today continues to act as its patron.

Presented annually, with the objective of promoting excellence in world literature, the award is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or English translation in the specified time period as outlined in the rules and conditions for the year.

Since its inception, IMPAC has worked with Dublin City Council to develop the award which has become one of the most prestigious in the world.

IMPAC (Improved Management Productivity and Control) is an international company with its headquarters based in Florida, USA. Founded in 1954 and headed up since 1972 by Dr. James B Irwin, Snr., IMPAC is a global leader in the productivity enhancement field, working on projects for major corporations and institutions in 65 countries around the world. IMPAC's Dublin offices were established in 1988 with the development of its European regional training centre.

Dublin City Council
Dublin City Council is the municipal authority providing local government services for Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. First established in the year 1192, Dublin City Council provides a range of diverse services such as libraries, arts, planning, housing and fire services for the citizens of Dublin - to the highest international standards. Dublin City Public Libraries co-ordinates and steers the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award administrative processes involving more than 150 libraries worldwide.

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