Irish authors shortlisted for prestigious books prize

TWO Irish authors are on the shortlist for the biggest books prize in the world, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, it was announced yesterday.

The prize, worth €100,000, goes to a single work of fiction. This year, Ireland is represented by Colm Tóibín’s The Master and Ronan Bennett’s Havoc, In Its Third Year.

Irish translator John Cullen is also represented by two books on the shortlist of 10: a translation from the French and a translation from the Italian.

He will get one-quarter of the prize money if one of his translations wins, with the rest going to the original author.

Unlike the Man Booker Prize, the IMPAC is open to books written in any language as long as they have been translated into English.

While this year marks the 10th consecutive year of the award, it has yet to be won by an Irish author.

The shortlist was chosen by the judges from an original long list of 132 titles, nominated by 180 libraries in 43 countries.

The winning novel will go to a single novel, which the judges will announce on June 14.

Past winners include Edward P Jones for The Known World, Tahar Ben Jelloun for This Blinding Absence Of Light and Orhan Pamuk for My Name Is Red, Michel Houellebecq for Atomised (The Elementary Particles) and Alistair MacLeod for No Great Mischief.

The judges are drawn from the international literary community and this year’s panel includes Co Kildare-based poet, novelist and translator Mary O’Donnell, who is based in Co Kildare.

Graceland

Chris Abani

Nigeria

Elvis is a teenage Elvis impersonator in Lagos.

The book details his odyssey into the dangerous underworld of the city.

It is the story of a young man trying to make his way in a troubled post-colonial country.

Maps For Lost Lovers

Nadeem Aslam

Pakistan

In an English town, lovers Jugnu and Chanda have disappeared.

They were living together, but were unmarried - a disgrace in their Pakistani community.

When it appears Chanda and her lover were murdered by her brothers, things start to fall apart.

Havoc, In Its Third Year

Ronan Bennett

Ireland

England in the 1630s. A town gripped by fear of crime and foreign invasion falls into the grip of a group of Puritan reformers.

A coroner investigating an infanticide gets caught in a power struggle in the middle of all this, in this historical novel with obvious echoes of the present.

The Closed Circle

Jonathan Coe

England

A follow up to his novel The Rotters’ Club, in this work we meet the same characters. Concerned with Britain’s increasingly compromised role in America’s ‘war against terrorism’, the novel depicts a world where ideology and the media have are indistinguishable.

An Altered Light

Jens Christian Grøndahl

Denmark

Irene is a family lawyer living in a rich suburb in Copenhagen.

She appears to have the perfect life, until it starts to fall apart, when her husband announces he’s leaving her and her mother reveals a secret about her father.

How will she cope when she suddenly finds out she is neither wife nor daughter?

The Swallows of Kabul

Yasmina Khadra (Trans. John Cullen)

Algeria

Mosheen and his wife Zunaira’s lives have changed by the rise to power of the Taliban. So have those of the jailer Atiq and his wife Musarrat. How do the four retain their humanity in a place where pleasure has become a sin?

Breaking The Tongue

Vyvyane Loh

Malaysia

A chronicle of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War II, and the story through a Chinese family more British than the British themselves.

A coming-of-age novel of one young man and a nation.

Don’t Move

Margaret Mazzantini (Trans. John Cullen)

Italy

Timoteo is a high-flying surgeon.

His life appears perfect, until his daughter falls off her scooter and is rushed to hospital in a coma.

As Timoteo waits, while his daughter is operated on, he reveals a confession to the reader.

Not all is as it seems.

The Master

Colm Tóibín

Ireland

Nominated for the Booker Prize, The Master gives us an insight into the interior world of novelist Henry James.

As he circulated, feted in high society, his private anguish stemmed from his failure at intimacy and decision to put the demands of the intellect before the demands of the human heart.

The Logogryph

Thomas Wharton

Canada

A boy living in the mountains is given a case of old books.

A work about the mystery and alchemy of reading, it is the start of a lifelong journey, in this work which describes imaginary books and alternate realities.

Will he find the Logogryph, the creature he searches for on his journey?

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