Author Crace lifts Impac prize
English author Jim Crace has won one of the world's most valuable literary prizes - the Impac Dublin award.
The writer's book Harvest was nominated by public libraries from around the world and beat off competition from more than 140 other titles to be selected the winner by a panel of judges.
Crace said his success was an overwhelming surprise and delight.
"Harvest proved to be a generous novel in the writing," he said.
"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 20-year-long list of fiction honoured by this truly international and discriminating award. No writer could hope for more than that."
The award was announced at a ceremony at the Mansion House in Dublin.
Crace was born in Hertfordshire, grew up in north London and has 10 novels to his name, including Quarantine which was shortlisted for the award in 1999.
The prize is worth 100,000 euro.
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 was chosen from a total of 142 titles, nominated by libraries in 114 cities in 39 countries and was selected as the winner from a shortlist of 10 books.
The judges noted: "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."