Harvest by Jim Crace is the 20th winner of the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

Harvest by British author Jim Crace is the winner of the 2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

The Award is organised by Dublin City Council and at €100,000 is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English. Uniquely, the IMPAC DUBLIN receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognises both writers and translators. The winner was announced at a ceremony in Dublin's Mansion House today.

Jim Crace was born in Hertfordshire and grew up in North London. He is the author of ten previous novels, including Quarantine which was shortlisted for the award in 1999.

“The IMPAC DUBLIN award has a tremendous legacy of achievement; 20 years of being a truly international award, drawing its winners from countries and cultures where, as in Dublin, potential is recognised, excellence rewarded, and translation is respected” said the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Patron of the Award, Christy Burke.

He continued: “2015 marks a significant milestone as the 20th year of the IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award. Not only has it changed the lives of the winning writers and translators but also brought widespread visibility to all the works shortlisted and nominated.”

The winning novel was chosen from a total of 142 titles, nominated by libraries in 114 cities in 39 countries.  It was first published in the UK by Picador. The shortlist of ten novels, as chosen by an international panel of judges, included novels from five continents. Jim Crace is the fourth British author to win the prize in its 20 year history.

Set in an unspecified time in the past, in a green corner of England, Harvest is the story of the last days of a village and the death of an age-old way of life.

Commenting on his win, Jim Crace said: “It has been an overwhelming surprise and a delight to discover that my latest book has won the IMPAC DUBLIN award. Harvest proved to be a generous novel in the writing. Readers and critics were more than generous in their responses. And now, thanks to the further generosity of a whole wide-world network of book-loving strangers, Harvest has struck lucky again – it will be included in the distinguished and twenty-year-long list of fiction honoured by this truly international and discriminating award. No writer could hope for more than that.”

“Harvest is a story that explores some of our greatest fears, those of change and difference” said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian. “Jim Crace, our 20th winner, joins a unique creative collective whose stories will continue to cast a spell over readers for many years to come.”

Jim Crace received a cheque for €100,000. The prize money was presented to the winner by Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of the Award’s founders and sponsors, Dublin City Council. Dublin City has a long and rich literary heritage as well as a thriving living literary scene, and was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010.

The judges commented: “At times, Harvest reads like a long prose poem; it plays on the ear like a river of words. But then again, Jim Crace is a consummate wordsmith; his understanding of human nature is uncanny and he never drops a stitch from start to finish. All human life is here: its graces and disgraces and there is life too in every small stone, flower and blade of grass. A powerful and compelling novel, Harvest is a worthy winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.” (Full citation below.)

Harvest was nominated by Universitätsbibliothek Bern, Switzerland; and by LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library, Tallahassee, USA, who commented:

“Harvest is deftly written, in language – formal, slightly archaic even – that reflects the setting it describes. Tightly plotted; less than a week passes from the moment smoke is sighted until the books’ fateful outcome, and yet once underway, we have the sense that everything is inevitable.”

The 2015 shortlist included three novels in translation and authors from Australia (Richard Flanagan and Hannah Kent); Brazil (Bernardo Kucinski); France (Andreï Makine); Ireland (Colum McCann); Morocco (Mahi Binebine); Nigeria (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie); the UK (Jim Crace) and the USA (Alice McDermott and Roxana Robinson).

All the shortlisted books, as well as copies of the 142 novels nominated for the 2015 Award, are available to borrow from Dublin public libraries.

Ends

For further information:

Media Relations & Corporate Communications

Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland

01 222 2170  01 2222681 info@dublincity.ie

For interview requests: Joanna Petty/Ruth Doyle, Wilson Hartnell,

https://twitter.com/dublinlitaward

https://www.facebook.com/ImpacDublinAward

Notes for editors

The International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award is presented annually to promote excellence in world literature. It is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or in English translation in the specified time period as outlined in the rules and conditions for the year. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world.

The Award is sponsored by Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Public Libraries.

The other shortlisted novels for the 2015 Award were Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from French by Lulu Norman; The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; Burial Rites by Hannah Kent;  K by Bernardo Kucinski, translated from Portuguese by Sue Branford; Brief Loves That Live Forever by Andreï Makine, translated from French by Geoffrey Strachan; TransAtlantic by Colum McCann; Someone  by Alice McDermott and Sparta by Roxana Robinson.

Recent winners of the award include:

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (2014), City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (2013), Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (2012), Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2011), The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (2010)

Previous British winners of the award:

Jon McGregor (2012) Even the Dogs; Nicola Barker (2000) Wide Open; Andrew Miller (1999) Ingenious Pain

See www.impacdublinaward.ie  for full details of the International IMPAC DUBLIN Award. 

Citation, author details, 2015 judging panel and previous winners below.

JUDGES’ CITATION – 2015 Winner

Harvest by Jim Crace

Set in an unspecified time in the past, in a green corner of England, Harvest is the story of the last days of a village and the death of an age-old way of life.

It is late summer and the Enclosure Act is making itself known, cutting up and fencing off land, removing it from the reaches of the common man and securing it for the privileged few. But the harvest, at least, has been gathered and as weary villagers rest their bones in ready for the following night’s celebrations, three strangers arrive and set up camp on the outskirts of the village. These strangers: two men and one disturbingly alluring woman, are themselves, victims of the Enclosure Act and have been driven from their homes to live the lives of vagrants. That same night, a fire breaks out in the barn owned by Master Kent, the Lord of the Manor. Suspicion and fear begin to stir; fingers point at the newcomers - they will be made to pay.

One man, Walter Thirsk, knows who is really to blame for the fire. Thirsk, himself a blow-in of a mere dozen years, is now a widower. He is also a born survivor. Keeping himself to himself, divulging only what needs to be divulged, he confides in no-one, except of course, the reader.

Walter Thirsk is the ideal narrator; he tucks us under his wing and takes us through the landscape of the story, pointing out the dangers and the deceits; filling us in on village gossip; shining a light on the powers that be. He draws us right into the dark heart of this village where betrayal, cruelty, greed, cowardice and lust are ever lurking – vices that have been, and always will be with us and thereby bringing a contemporary relevance to the novel.

At times, Harvest reads like a long prose poem; it plays on the ear like a river of words. But then again, Jim Crace is a consummate wordsmith; his understanding of human nature is uncanny and he never drops a stitch from start to finish. All human life is here: its graces and disgraces and there is life too in every small stone, flower and blade of grass. A powerful and compelling novel, Harvest is a worthy winner of the International DUBLIN IMPAC Prize  

About the author

Jim Crace is the author of numerous books, including Continent (winner of the 1986 Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize), Quarantine (winner of the 1998 Whitbread Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Being Dead (winner of the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives in Birmingham.

Judging Panel 2015

Valentine Cunningham is a literary historian and critic. He is Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University and Emeritus Fellow in English Literature at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He reviews widely on literary topics and broadcasts frequently on BBC radio on both literary and musicology topics. He has lectured around the world and has been Visiting Professor of Literature in the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany. He has judged many literary prizes, including the Man Booker Prize (1992 and 1998) and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He has published many books on Victorian and twentieth century poetry, prose, culture, politics and theory. His latest volumes are Victorian Poetry Now: Poets, Poems, Poetics (2011) and The Connell Guide to King Lear (2012).

Christine Dwyer Hickey, born in Dublin, is a novelist and short story writer. She is the author of eight books including The Lives of Women which will be published in May 2015. Her novel The Cold Eye of Heaven won the Irish Novel of the Year 2012. Last Train from Liguria was shortlisted for the Prix L’Européen de Littérature and her novel Tatty was chosen as one of the 50 Irish Books of the Decade as well as being nominated for the Orange Prize. Her first novel The Dancer was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year in 1995. Her first play Snow Angels was staged at the Project Theatre in Dublin in March 2014 and played to full houses and critical acclaim. Christine is a member of Aosdána.

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator with some forty books to his name. His work has won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. Forthcoming books include the new Oxford Companion to Children's Literature and translations of novels from Angola, Guatemala and Brazil. He is currently chair of the Society of Authors, and on the board of a number of organisations which deal with literature and free speech.

Kate Pullinger is a novelist and digital writer who grew up in British Columbia, Canada. Her 2009 novel The Mistress of Nothing won Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Fiction and it was long listed for both the Giller Prize and the IMPAC DUBLIN Award. Her new novel, Landing Gear was published in 2014. She has been at the forefront of literary digital innovation for more than a decade; her on-going web project Inanimate Alice and her 2014 digital war memorial Letter to an Unknown Soldier have gathered readers and writers around the world. She is Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University. 

Jordi Soler was born in 1963 in La Portuguesa, a community of Catalan exiles located in the jungle of Veracruz, Mexico. He currently lives in Barcelona and is a regular contributor to several newspapers and magazines in Spain and Mexico. Soler has published books of poems, story collections, and ten novels translated into several languages. Los rojos de ultramar (2004), La última hora del último día (2007) and La fiesta del oso (2009) are a trilogy of novels that the author devoted to his family who were forced to emigrate to Mexico during the Spanish Civil War. The trilogy was published in a single volume entitled La guerra perdida, and was awarded with the Prix Littéraire des Jeunes Européens (2012).

Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, non-voting chair of the judging panel, is a former Chief Judge of a US Court of Appeals and brings a wealth of experience from sixteen years on the bench. His first novel, The Majority Rules, was published in 2005.  His second novel of his political thriller trilogy, The Report to the Judiciary, was published in 2008. When not recalled to the Federal Bench, Judge Sullivan is a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Pepper Hamilton, LLP.

Previous winners:

  • 2014: The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombian), translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean
  • 2013: City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (Irish)
  • 2012: Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor (British)
  • 2011: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Irish)
  • 2010: The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (Dutch), translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
  • 2009: Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (American)
  • 2008: De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (Lebanese / Canadian)
  • 2007: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Norwegian), translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born
  • 2006: The Master by Colm Toibín (Irish)
  • 2005: The Known World by Edward P. Jones (American)
  • 2004: This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun (Moroccan) translated from the French by Linda Coverdale
  • 2003: My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk (Turkish) translated from the Turkish by Erdag M. Göknar
  • 2002: Atomised by Michel Houellebecq (French), translated from the French by Frank Wynne
  • 2001: No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (Canadian)
  • 2000: Wide Open by Nicola Barker (English)
  • 1999: Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller (English)
  • 1998: The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller (Romanian), translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
  • 1997: A Heart So White by Javier Marías (Spanish), translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
  • 1996: Remembering Babylon by David Malouf (Australian)
Feedback