International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is a strange but fun award.  It seems to pick up on good books a few years after they have been in the spotlight, which is good and bad.  Good because if you missed them the first time, you have a reminder here.  Bad because if you did catch these books the first time this award offers nothing new.  I think, however, that there are few of us who catch all of these books the first time through, and the IMPAC is especially great for international title that are not eligible for the Booker or any of the American awards.

The delay is on purpose.  To be eligible, a work must have been published two years ago (so, for example, in 2011, all books will have been published in the calendar year 2009).  This is a nice way to make sure the hype of the book has passed, and hopefully the book has shown it can stand a (minor) test of time.  The book must be published in English or English translation.  Interestingly, the award is given by the Dublin City Public Libraries, who get nominations from public libraries from all over the world.

If you’d like to visit their official site, click here.

For a list of past winners, click here.

11 thoughts on “International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award”

  1. Trevor says:

    KevinfromCanada has reviewed The Archivist’s Story, one of the books on this year’s shortlist, on his blog today. Sounds like a good one on a very good list of books.

  2. Carole says:

    Hi Trevor I have been reading your blog and that of kevinfromcanada and just want to endorse his view of ‘The Archivist’s Story’. I posted a small review on our shop blog here but also want to emphasise how good the books picked for the IMPAC Award are. They represent some of the best and enduring fiction of the last few years. Carole

  3. Trevor says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Carole. I look forward to seeing more of your blog as it develops!

    I didn’t know what The Archivist’s Story was about until Kevin reviewed it, and it definitely has my interest, more so than the three books to win and be finalists in the Pulitzer (though that can change in just a sentence!).

  4. Trevor says:

    Can anyone tell me when the IMPAC winner is announced? I can’t find a date on their site, or anywhere. Is it a surprise?

  5. June 11.

    I’ve reviewed one of the five not in the “Big Three” (Oscar Wao, Reluctant Fundamentalist and Animal’s People — all with excellent reviews here and elsewhere) and will be posting reviews on the last four starting next week. A most interesting list and perhaps a surprising result. I will have a “predict the IMPAC winner” contest up on my site by June 1 — trying to figure out the tiebreaker right now.

  6. Trevor says:

    Thanks, Kevin. I must be blind to that date for some reason; the first few times I read your comment I skipped over it.

  7. Stewart says:

    Can anyone tell me when the IMPAC winner is announced? I can’t find a date on their site, or anywhere. Is it a surprise?

    It’s June 11th. They’ve never really been any good at keeping the site updated – the FAQs still talk about submitting books for 2007, which would have been in 2006 – but you can get the information from the news page</a., which has the following to say, tucked in amongst everything else:

    The five member judging panel, chaired by Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, will select one winner from the short list which will be announced by The Patron of the Award, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Eibhlin Byrne, on Thursday June 11th 2009.

  8. Stewart says:

    Whoops! That didn’t come out quite right. Still, if you’re going to miss the date, at least you can’t miss the link. ;)

  9. I loved The Twin, which won the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Award, so I’ve started seriously considering the long list (and it is QUITE long) for 2011. I picked up but then couldn’t hang with Love and Summer by William Trevor (sorry! Maybe I’ll give it another go…) but then I read John the Revelator by Peter Murphy. Wow–I loved it. If you like, check out my post on Has anyone read Love and Summer, and shall I try again?

  10. Liz: I’ve read and reviewed the IMPAC shortlist in both 2009 and 2010 — you can find links to the 2010 books down the right sidebar of my blog:

    but you will have to search 2009 by title. I’ve also read and reviewed Love and Summer and quite liked it — click on Trevor in the right sidebar for a link.

    The IMPAC “longlist” is actually every book that has been nominated by libraries around the world. It is an interesting source of possible reading titles, but I don’t think much more since there has been no vetting at all. I have found the shortlist to be very worthwhile reading. In both years, I had already read about half and found the pointers to the rest (that included The Twin last year to be very worthwhile. I think IMPAC is much under-rated prized. I will probably try to read the entire shortlist again this year.

  11. Thanks so much, Kevin. You’ve saved me loads of time because now I, too, will wait for the short list. And I’ll keep a close eye on your blog to see what you review. I just read what you had to say about Love and Summer. I loved Brooklyn, so perhaps I’ll give the Trevor book another try when I’m in the mood for a more complex read.

    Trevor, as to your serious question about Melville–alas, the only person I know who could answer with any authority is Professor Zimmerman, and he retired. I guess you’ll just have to keep reading and judge for yourself!

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