Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jim Crace wins the $112,000 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize with ‘Harvest’

Photo by Eamonn McCabe

Jim Crace’s Harvest has won the 20th Annual IMPAC Dublin Literary award, managed and presented by Dublin City Libraries. It is “the world’s most valuable literary award for a single work of fiction published in English,” according to IMPAC.

Harvest also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was named the Best Book of the Year by
the Christian Science Monitor. Its publisher describes it:

On the morning after harvest, the inhabitants of a remote English village awaken looking forward to a hard-earned day of rest and feasting at their landowner’s table. But the sky is marred by two conspicuous columns of smoke, replacing pleasurable anticipation with alarm and suspicion.

One smoke column is the result of an overnight fire that has damaged the master’s outbuildings. The second column rises from the wooded edge of the village, sent up by newcomers to announce their presence. In the minds of the wary villagers a mere coincidence of events appears to be unlikely, with violent confrontation looming as the unavoidable outcome. Meanwhile, another newcomer has recently been spotted taking careful notes and making drawings of the land. It is his presence more than any other that will threaten the village’s entire way of life.

In effortless and tender prose, Jim Crace details the unraveling of a pastoral idyll in the wake of economic progress. His tale is timeless and unsettling, framed by a beautifully evoked world that will linger in your memory long after you finish reading.

Crace has won a number of prizes for his fiction. Continent won the David Higham Prize for Fiction, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Whitbread Award. The Gift of Stones won the GAP International Prize for Literature and Signals of Distress was awarded the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Quarantine won the Whitbread and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Being Dead was given the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2014, he won the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize for Fiction.

Harvest was selected from a formidable list of ten novels. The other finalists for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award were: Americanah by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Horses of God by Moroccan writer Mahi Binebine; The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Australian Richard Flanigan (reviewed on this blog on 5/6/15); Burial Rites by Australian Hannah Kent; K by Brazilian Bernardo Kucinski; Brief Loves that Live Forever by Russian-born French writer Andrei Makine; TransAtlantic by Dubliner Colum McCann; Someone by American Alice McDermott and Sparta by American Roxanna Robinson.

Christy Burke, Lord Mayor of Dublin
Novels were nominated for the prize by public libraries in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Green, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The prize was presented to Crace by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, Patron of the Award, on June 17.

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