Short-list of 10 writers announced for literary award

A SHORTLIST of 10 books for the 2004 IMPAC Literary Award was announced in Dublin yesterday.

The list represents what is probably the most diverse group of finalists in the history of the award, now in its ninth year.

Three US writers were nominated as well as one from Britain. Morocco, Lebanon, Ghana and Afghanistan are also represented along with India and Poland. No Irish writer was nominated for the award which, at €100,000 is the world’s largest literary prize for a single work of fiction.

The 10 titles were selected from 125 nominations by 162 libraries from 47 countries. Thirty five titles nominated were translations.

The shortlist was announced in The Mansion House by Lord Mayor of Dublin Royston Brady.

The nominations include The Book of Illusions by US writer Paul Auster. His most recent novel, Timbuktu, was a best-seller in the US.

William Boyd’s novel is Any Human Heart. He is the author of many award-winning novels, including An Ice-Cream War and The Blue Afternoon.

Most of the nominees are already accomplished novelists. One exception is the Afghan writer Atiq Rahimi, 32, who fled his native land in 1984 and now lives in France where he works as a documentary film-maker.

Earth and Ashes, his first novel, is a fable about war, family and home set during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

The winner of the award will be chosen on June 17 by an international panel of judges, chaired by judge Eugene R Sullivan, a retired US federal judge.

The shortlisted titles are:

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

The White Family by Maggie Gee

This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun (translated from the French by Linda Coverdale)

Balthasar’s Odyssey by Amin Maalouf (Translated from the French by Barbara Bray)

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi (translated from the Dari by Erdag M. Göknar)

House of Day, House of Night by Olga Tokarczuk (translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones).

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