Thursday, April 03, 2008

International Impact

This year's shortlist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is a truly international one. As Guy Dammann notes in the Guardian, only two of the shortlisted novels originating from the English-speaking world, the rest representing a wide sweep of the globe, and including two works in translation. It is, he says, a particularly topical shortlist with three of the eight novels dealing with the middle east and two of them being concerned directly with the Israeli Arabs.

The shortlisted books are :
The Speed of Light by Javier Cercas (Spanish, in translation)
The Sweet and Simple Kind by Yasmine Gooneratne (Sri Lankan)
De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage (Lebanese)
Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones (Australian)
Let it be Morning by Sayed Kashua (Israeli)
The Attack by Yasmina Khadra (Algerian) in translation
The Woman who Waited by Andrei Makine (Russian) in translation
Winterwood by Patrick McCabe (Irish)
You can read about all these novels on the award website.

It's interesting who didn't make the shortlist, drawn up by libraries around the world : as Dammann points out, it didn't include any of the literary "heavyweights" (including Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, John Updike, Peter Carey and Cormac McCarthy who had been nominated.)

But it is good to see good books that readers might otherwise have missed (especially as they don't come from the centre of the publishing world) brought to the fore.

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