Three Irish authors in running for €100,000 prize
THE country's economy may be in disarray, but it seems its literary heritage is in safe hands.
No fewer than three of Ireland's best-known writers have made the shortlist for the richest literary prize in the world.
It is the highest number of Irish authors to make the shortlist in the 16-year history of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Ten novels have been shortlisted for this year's IMPAC, with a prize of €100,000 for the winner. The three Irish authors on the list are Colum McCann for 'Let the Great World Spin', Colm Toibin for 'Brooklyn', and William Trevor for 'Love and Summer'.
The 10 novels were chosen by judges from a total of 162 novels nominated by libraries around the world. The IMPAC is unique among literary prizes because the nominations come from libraries, with organisers maintaining it gives a voice to ordinary readers rather than just academics and critics.
The nominations this year came from libraries in 126 cities in 43 countries worldwide, with librarians making their assessments partly based on the most popular books. Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen, the patron of the award, will officially announce the shortlist today at the Mansion House at 11am.
The ceremony is likely to include a rare appearance by the veteran writer William Trevor, who will be 83 next month.
The 2011 shortlist includes big international names such as Barbara Kingsolver, Joyce Carol Oates and David Malouf.
Both Malouf ('Remembering Babylon') and Toibin ('The Master') are previous winners of the award, in 1996 and 2006 respectively.
The five-member international judging panel includes Irish writer John Boyne, author of 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas'.
The three Irish writers on the list all have a good chance of winning, and their books have been hugely popular with international readers. Another favourite to take the €100,000 award is American writer Kingsolver whose novel 'The Lacuna' was a worldwide bestseller.
It takes the reader on a sweeping journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbour, Franklin D Roosevelt, and J Edgar Hoover.
A unique aspect of the IMPAC is that it is open to novels published in any language as long as they have also been published in translation in English.
This year, some 42 of the titles on the IMPAC longlist of 162 were novels translated from other languages. The aim is to bring interesting novels in other languages to the attention of readers in English.
The award is managed by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council.
It is sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company. The winner will be announced in June.