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The novelist Kevin Barry Photo by: The_Irish_Times

Kevin Barry’s “City of Bohane” wins International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

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The novelist Kevin Barry Photo by: The_Irish_Times

“City of Bohane” by Kevin Barry has won the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The Award is organised by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council and sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company. The €100,000 prize is the largest prize for a single novel published in English. Uniquely, the IMPAC DUBLIN receives its nominations from public libraries around the globe.

Kevin Barry hails from Limerick and lives in Sligo. He is the author of two award winning short story collections; “City of Bohane” is his first novel.

"I’m thrilled to see an Irish author of such immense talent take home this year’s award.  City of Bohane is 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,” said the Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Naoise Ó Muirí, announcing the winner at a ceremony in Dublin's Mansion House on 6th June. Kevin Barry received the trophy and a cheque for €100,000 at the presentation dinner following the announcement.

The winning novel beat off competition from 153 other titles, nominated by 160 libraries from 44 countries.  It was first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape. The shortlist of ten novels, as chosen by an international panel of judges included novels from France, Iceland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA. 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.

Commenting on his win, Kevin Barry said: “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.”

“City of Bohane is a worthy winner from a truly international shortlist”, says Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian. “The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013 shortlist included authors from France (Michel Houellebecq), Iceland (Sjón), Ireland (Kevin Barry), Japan (Haruki Murakami and Julie Otsuka), Norway (Kjersti Skomsvold), The Netherlands (Tommy Wieringa), United Kingdom (Andrew Miller), USA (Arthur Philips, Julia Ostuka and Karen Russell).  All the shortlisted books as well as copies of the 154 novels nominated for the 2013 Award, are available to borrow from Dublin public libraries.”  

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'.”

City of Bohane was nominated by Cork, Dublin and Limerick City Libraries.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is presented annually to promote excellence in world literature. It 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. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world.

Previous winners of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award include:

Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (2012), Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2011), The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (2010), Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (2009), De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (2008), Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2007) and The Master by Colm Tóibín (2006).

The other shortlisted novels were 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.

See www.impacdublinaward.ie for full details of the International IMPAC Dublin Award.

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