Record number of Irish authors in running for €100,000 literary award

Eight Irish authors are in with a chance of winning one of the world’s most valuable literary prizes after their books were nominated by libraries around the globe.

The eight, who include former Irish Examiner journalist Kevin Barry, are among 154 nominees for the annual International Impac Dublin Literary Award, which is worth €100,000 to the winner.

An international judging panel will reduce the number to a shortlist of 10 next April and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin in June.

The award, which is organised by Dublin City Public Libraries, is sponsored by international management consultancy Impac and resulted from a conversation 20 years ago between the company’s chairman and then Dublin lord mayor Gay Mitchell about their shared love of reading.

Nominations are invited from public libraries, with librarians asked to make the choice based on borrowing rates and feedback from members.

Irish authors have won twice in the 17 years of the award, Colm Toibín with The Master in 2006 and Colum McCann with Let The Great World Spin in 2011. Eight Irish nominations in a year is the highest to date.

Dublin City librarian Margaret Hayes said: “It says a lot for the high quality of writing coming from Irish writers currently and it reinforces Dublin’s status as Unesco City of Literature.”

Irish nominations are: City Of Bohane by Kevin Barry, On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry, The Absolutist by John Boyne, The Dulang Washer by Paul Callan, Long Time, No See by Dermot Healy, Cold Eye of Heaven by Christine Dwyer Hickey, Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini, and Double Talk by Patrick Warner.

Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí urged the public to join in the competition by reading as many of the nominated books as possible. “You can pit yourself against the international panel of judges and pick your own favourite novel before I announce the winner on Jun 6 next year,” he said.

The most nominated book this year is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

* The full list of 154 nominees is available at www.impacdublinaward.ie

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