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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, June 15, 2007 10:13 am
Petterson Wins the IMPAC
Posted by: Keir Graff

I wasn’t planning to mention the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, but when I looked up the Booklist review of the winner, I changed my mind. Add to that the underdog story of a little-known Norwegian author knocking off heavyweights like Cormac McCarthy (full disclosure: I am part Norwegian, and I enjoy lefse) — and add to that the fact that the award is said to be the “world’s richest prize for a single work of fiction” — well, I’m only human. From Bloomberg (“Norway’s Petterson Wins EU100,000 Irish Book Award,” by Fergal O’Brien):

June 14 (Bloomberg) — Norwegian writer Per Petterson won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, billed as the world’s richest prize for a single work of fiction, for “Out Stealing Horses,” defeating big-name authors including Julian Barnes, J.M. Coetzee and Cormac McCarthy.

Petterson was picked for the 100,000 euro ($133,000) award from a list of eight finalists for his novel about a tragic summer in the life of 15-year-old Trond and his memories of those events as an old man. The winner was announced at a ceremony in the Dublin City Hall today.

“At least two of my heroes were on the list,” Petterson said in an interview after receiving the award, adding that he has been reading Coetzee and McCarthy for years. “I knew it was tough competition.”

Let me just say, too, that I applaud the hyping of ever more lucrative literary prize pots. Why not? When you do the math, most novelists work for less than minimum wage.


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