Belfast Telegraph

Barry scoops top literary award

An Irish writer has scooped the largest prize in the world for a novel published in English.

City Of Bohane by Kevin Barry has been announced as the winner of the 2013 International Impac Dublin Literary Award and its 100,000 euro prize.

He beat off competition from 153 other titles nominated by 160 public libraries from 44 countries for the accolade.

Barry, who hails from Limerick and lives in Sligo, is the author of two award-winning short story collections and City Of Bohane is his first novel.

"The fact that this award originates with the libraries is what makes it very special for me - libraries are where we learn that we can live our lives through books," he said at the ceremony in Dublin's Mansion House.

The shortlist of 10 novels, which was chosen by an international panel of judges, included novels from France, Iceland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the US.

The judges said: "Kevin Barry's Ireland of 2053 is a place you may not want to be alive in but you'll certainly relish reading about. This is not a future of shiny technology but one in which history turns in circles and quirks an eyebrow at the idea of 'progress'."

Barry is the third Irish author to win the prize. It was awarded to Colm Toibin in 2006 for The Master and to Colum McCann in 2011 for Let The Great World Spin.His novel was nominated by Cork, Dublin and Limerick city libraries.

Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri, patron of the award, added: "I'm thrilled to see an Irish author of such immense talent take home this year's award. City Of Bohane is a vivid, atmospheric portrayal of a city in the West of Ireland set in the future but mired in the past. The highly original cast of characters are at once flamboyant and malevolent, speaking in a vernacular like no other."

The award is organised by Dublin city libraries on behalf of Dublin City Council and is sponsored by Impac, an international management productivity company.

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