Winner of International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award 2011

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Winner announced 19.30, Wednesday 15th June at Black Tie Dinner

Let the Great World Spin by Dublin author Colum McCann, has won the 2011 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award. The Award is organized by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council and sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company. The prize is €100,000. It is the largest prize for a single novel published in English. Uniquely, the IMPAC DUBLIN receives its nominations from public libraries around the globe.

"Colum McCann joins a long list of eminent novelists to win this award" said the Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Gerry Breen, “and it is wonderful and fitting to have a Dublin winner in the year that Dublin was awarded UNESCO City of Literature designation, a designation in perpetuity.”

Let the Great World Spin has beaten off competition from 161 other titles, nominated by 166 public libraries from 43 countries.  It was first published in the USA by Random House and in the UK by Bloomsbury. The shortlist of ten novels included novels from the USA, Australia, Canada, and Ireland. Colum McCann is the second Irish author to win the prize. It was awarded to Colm Toibín in 2006 for The Master.

About the book…..

New York, August 1974: a man is walking in the sky. Between the newly built Twin Towers, the man twirls through the air. Far below, the lives of complete strangers spin towards each other: Corrigan, a radical Irish monk working in the Bronx; Claire, a delicate Upper East Side housewife reeling from the death of her son; Lara, a drug-addled young artist; Gloria, solid and proud despite decades of hardship; Tillie, a hooker who used to dream of a better life; and Jazzlyn, her beautiful daughter raised on promises that reach beyond the skyline of New York. In the shadow of one reckless and beautiful act, these disparate lives will collide, and be transformed for ever.

The judging panel commented

 “This is a remarkable literary work, a genuinely 21st Century novel that speaks to its time but is not enslaved by it. The human condition, the kindness and cruelty shown from one man to another, the ways in which we suffer and triumph, are subjects which have resonated through fiction for centuries. In each generation, writers explore these themes and rephrase the questions that our humanity asks of us. There are few answers in this novel. Its beguiling nature leaves the reader with as much uncertainty as we feel throughout our lives, but therein lies the power of fiction and of this book in particular.

In the opening pages of Let The Great World Spin, the people of New York City stand breathless and overwhelmed as a great artist dazzles them in a realm that seemed impossible until that moment; Colum McCann does the same thing in this novel, leaving the reader just as stunned as the New Yorkers, just as moved and just as grateful.”

Let the Great World Spin was also the most popular choice of libraries worldwide. It received 14 nominations from libraries in Ireland, Germany, Greece, Norway, the USA and Canada.


Notes for Editors

The shortlisted novels were Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Brooklyn by Colm Toibín, The Vagrants by Yiyun Li, Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, Love and Summer by William Trevor, Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates, Galore by Michael Crummey, After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice by Evie Wyld, Ransom by David Malouf, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver.

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 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 International IMPAC Dublin Award is managed by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council. It is sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company.

Previous winners of the prestigious award include:

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (2010), Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (2009), De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (2008), Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2007) and The Master by Colm Tóibín (2006)

This year there were five members of the international panel of judges chaired by Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan;

John Boyne was born in Dublin in 1971. He is the author of 8 novels, including the international bestsellers Mutiny On The Bounty, The House of Special Purpose and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, His books are published in over 40 languages.

Susan Bassnett is a writer and professor of comparative literature at the University of Warwick. She is the author of over 20 books, which include translations, collections of her poetry,and academic writing. Recent publications include a study of Ted Hughes(2009)and a co-authored book on translation and global news (2010).

Tessa Hadley has written three novels: Accidents in the Home, (2002) 2002, (long listed for the Guardian First Book award); Everything Will Be All Right, (2003) and The Master Bedroom, (2007). A new novel, The London Train, will be out in January 2011. She reviews for The London Review of Books and The Guardian. Tessa is a Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Studies at Bath Spa University.

Nancy Huston was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1953 and has been living in Paris since 1973. She writes both fiction and non-fiction, in both French and English, translating herself in both directions. Fault Lines, her eleventh novel, won France's Prix Femina, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and has been translated into over thirty languages.

Michael Hofmann was born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1957, and moved to England in 1961. Since 1983, he has been a freelance writer and reviewer. In 1993, he was offered a teaching post at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is the author of four books of poems and a Selected Poems, a book of criticism called Behind the Lines, and the translator of many German authors, In 1998, his translation of Herta Müller’s The Land of Green Plums won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The Non-voting Chairperson, Hon. Eugene R. Sullivan, 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.

For more information

For full details of the 2011 award and international judging panel, see: