Thursday 22 February 2018

Booker rivals Ryan and Toibin battle it out for €100k award

Author Donal Ryan at the launch of the IMPAC award in Dublin City Library yesterday. Jason Clarke
Author Donal Ryan at the launch of the IMPAC award in Dublin City Library yesterday. Jason Clarke

John Spain

THREE Irish novels are among 152 titles that have been nominated by libraries worldwide for the €100,000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world's most valuable annual literary prize.

The three Irish novels on the longlist are 'The Spinning Heart' by Donal Ryan, 'The Testament of Mary' by Colm Toibin, and 'The Light of Amsterdam' by David Park.

These are all strong contenders for the prize, with Donal Ryan's debut novel about the effects of the economic crash in rural Ireland winning great critical acclaim. It went on to take the Newcomer of the Year prize at the Irish Book Awards last year and was longlisted for the Booker this year.

Colm Toibin's short novel about the older Mary living in exile years after the crucifixion made the Booker shortlist this year.

Northern Ireland writer David Park's seventh novel is about a disparate group of people who leave the North for a few days away in Amsterdam with mixed results.

Nominations this year for the IMPAC also include 51 American, 23 British, 11 Canadian novels and 41 novels in translation.

Organised by Dublin City Council, the 2014 award was launched yesterday by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn, Patron of the Award, at a ceremony in The Dublin City Library & Archive.


The IMPAC is unique among literary awards since the longlist comes from libraries around the world and therefore represents what ordinary readers are enjoying rather than the critics.

The 2014 judging panel includes Irish author Catherine Dunne (shortlisted for this year's Eason Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards) and Malaysian novelist Tash Aw (longlisted for the Booker this year).

The favourites are likely to be 'Bring Up the Bodies' by Hilary Mantel and 'Canada' by Richard Ford, both of which received nominations from libraries around the world.

All the novels nominated for the award are available for readers to borrow from Dublin's public libraries. The full list of 152 titles is available on

The shortlist will be made public on April 9, 2014, and the Lord Mayor will announce the winner on June 12 next year.

Irish Independent

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