The IMPAC Dublin Literary Award comes with a whopping cash prize of €100,000. International in scope, it is a unique award, in that public libraries worldwide nominate titles of “high literary merit,” to create the longlist. From there, a jury creates a shortlist. This year’s shortlist will be revealed in April 2017.
14 of the 147 titles in the running are Canadian, and a whopping 4 in 14 of them, or 29%, were penned by Newfoundlanders. That puts Canada in 4th place, behind American, British, and Australian authors.
The locals in the running — all women writers — are in some very fine company, alongside household Canadian names like Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill, and Helen Humphries, Giller Winner Andre Alexis, and fresh new innovators like Michael Christie & Patrick de Witt.
Those locals are: Elisabeth de Mariaffi (The Devil You Know), Joan Clark (The Birthday Lunch), Sarah Tilley (Duke), and Leslie Vryenhoek (Ledger of the Open Hand).
All four may well be the 3rd Canadian to ever win the Dublin Impac, and join the ranks of Alistair MacLeod (2001, for No Great Mischief) and Rawi Hage (2008, for De Niro’s Game).
All 4 of these novels were glowingly reviewed in The Overcast. de Mariaffi’s novel was praised as a book to “restore your faith in the existence of books that make you go, ‘just one more chapter before bed.’, and Clark’s book was dubbed “quintessentially Canadian and up there with the likes of Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Timothy Findley.”
Chad Pelley said Tilley’s book refreshingly “reads like nothing you’ve read before … it’s exciting to hold a book in your hands that is visibly busting out a brand new narrative form,” and Kerri Cull wrote that Vryenhoek’s novel, “has shown that she accepts and excels at a multitude of literary challenges.”