In this brief pause in the midst of literary awards season, I thought I'd focus on another annual literary award that announced its winner before I began my blog: the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. At €100,000, it is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.
This year’s winner was Harvest by Jim Crace which details the unraveling of bucolic life in the face of economic progress.
“A remote English village wakes on the morning after harvest, looking forward to enjoying a hard-earned day of rest and feasting. But two mysterious columns of smoke mar the sky, raising alarm and suspicion.
The first column of smoke comes from the edge of the village land, sent as a signal by newcomers to announce their presence as per regional custom. The second smoke column is even more troubling: it comes from a blaze set in Master Kent's stables. Walter Thirsk, a relative outsider in the village, casts his eye on three local boys and blames their careless tomfoolery. The rest of the villagers, though, close ranks against the strangers rather than accuse one of their own. Two men and a woman are apprehended; their heads are shaved to mark their criminality; and the men are thrown into the stocks for a week. Justice has been served. Or has it?
Meanwhile, another newcomer has been spotted in the village sporting the finer clothes and fashionable beard of a townsman. Mr. Quill, as the villagers name him, observes them closely and takes careful notes about their land, apparently at Master Kent's behest. It is his presence more than any other that will threaten the village's entire way of life” (http://www.amazon.ca/Harvest-Jim-Crace-ebook/dp/B00AW0DM94/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444094990&sr=8-1&keywords=Harvest).
There were ten books on the shortlist. Besides the winner, the following books were finalists:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
Horses of God by Mahi Binebine (Morocco)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Australia) See my blog entry of October 9 for my review.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Australia) See my blog entry of August 9 for my review.
K by Bernardo Kucinski (Brazil)
Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andreï Makine (France)
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Ireland)
Someone by Alice McDermott (U.S.)
Sparta by Roxana Robinson (U.S.)Check out http://www.impacdublinaward.ie/2015-shortlist/ for information about each book on the shortlist and http://www.impacdublinaward.ie/news/harvest-by-jim-crace-is-the-20th-winner-of-the-international-impac-dublin-literary-award/ for all the info about the winner, including Crace’s acceptance speech.