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Tuesday 23 September 2014

In the money: Irish writer Kevin Barry scoops €100,000 IMPAC literary award

John Spain, Books Editor

Published 06/06/2013 | 20:00

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Kevin Barry.jpg
Kevin Barry.jpg

IRISH writer Kevin Barry has won the €100,000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

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He won the prestigious award for his debut novel City of Bohane 

He beat other big names on the shortlist of ten, including Michel Houellebecq and Andrew Miller (both previous winners, as well as the bestselling Japanese writer  Haruki Murakami.

The winning novel is set 40 years into the future in a ruined city on the west coast of Ireland, a place laid waste by gang violence and vice.  

Already a bestseller and now out in paperback,  Barry's novel was one of the favourites to take the award. Although this is his first novel, the 44-year-old Limerick man, who now lives in Sligo, is the author of two acclaimed books of short stories.  Some of his stories have appeared in prestigious magazines like The New Yorker.   Last year one of his stories won the EFG Bank-Sunday Times short story prize worth £30,000, the most valuable story prize in the world. 

Only two Irish writers, Colm Toibin and Colum McCann, are previous winners of  the €100,000 prize which began in 1996. 

The ten novels on this year's shortlist were chosen by the judges from 154 novels nominated by libraries around the world. The IMPAC is unique among literary prizes because the nominations come from libraries, thus giving a voice to ordinary readers rather than just the critics. 

Eight Irish authors were on the longlist this year, including big names like Sebastian Barry and John Boyne, but only Kevin Barry had made it on to the shortlist.

The prize is the world’s most valuable annual literary award for a single work of fiction published in English.

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