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The International IMPAC 
Dublin Literary Award 2005

 SHORTLIST Tuesday 8th March 2005 

A shortlist of 10 books for the 10th Annual International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2005, the world’s largest literary prize (€100,000) for a single work of fiction, is announced in The Mansion House, Dublin today by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Councillor Michael Conaghan. As for the case brief writing service at, you can start a cooperation with its writers any time you want. The 10 titles were selected from a longlist of 147, nominated by 185 libraries from 51 countries and from 129 cities; 29 titles were in translation, covering 15 non-English languages.

The shortlisted titles are:-

Gardening at Night            Diane Awerbuck
The Good Doctor             Damon Galgut
Elle                                   Douglas Glover
Phantom Pain                   Arnon Grunberg

Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
The Great Fire                  Shirley Hazzard
Wilenbrock                      Christoph Hein
Translated from the German by Philip Boehm
Deafening                         Frances Itani
The Known World            Edward P. Jones
The Fortress of Solitude   Jonathan Lethem
The Half Brother              Lars Saabye Christensen
Translated from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven

The Winner will be announced on 15th June 2005 
in City Hall, Dublin.

Gardening at Night
/ Diane Awerbuck
Nominated by:   City of Johannesburg Library & Information Services

Gardening at Night follows the unfolding of a young girl's life through a childhood filled with silences, through adolescence and young womanhood. It is about how much people are the total of their longings, how high drama can also be low comedy. It probes how much of the old century a girl should take with her into the new one, and examines the merging of families in the Eighties and their emerging into the florescence of the Nineties and beyond.

It is especially the story of a girl's escape from a ghost town. The South African mining town of Kimberley was created over a hundred years ago when men with buckets scraped out the insides of the earth like a thousand black dentists. Now it is a place where the only tales are those of leaving.

Diane Awerbuck teaches high school English and History to Cape Town schoolgirls. She knows that someday she will have to go back to Kimberley. Gardening at Night is her first novel.

The Half Brother / Lars Saabye Christensen                              
Translated from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven
Nominated by:   Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Bergen, Norway  
Aberdeen Library & Information Services, Aberdeen, Scotland

It is Thursday 8th May, 1945, and Vera, our mother, is standing deep inside the drying loft in Church Road, unpegging the clothes that have become dry and soft up there in the course of the night. And she laughs quickly as she stretches up to the slack clothes  lines which feel rough against her fingers and which can easily sting if she isn’t careful. It’s Vera, our mother, who stands thus, alone in the drying loft; she laughs and drops the wooden pegs down into the wide pocket of her apron, and carefully places item after item in the woven basket beside her. She is warm and she is thinking of nothing; she’s just full to the brim with a great and curious joy, like nothing she has ever known before. Because she feels new now.  There has been war for five years and in the summer she will be twenty; and it’s now, right now that her life is beginning… 

The Half Brother is an epic novel, covering the lives of four generations of a far from ordinary family in their Oslo flat. At the heart of the drama we find Fred, the boxer, conceived after the rape of his mother in the drying loft, and his younger brother, Barnum. The two half-brothers lead very different and separate lives, until they are brought together again at their mother's deathbed…

Lars Saabye Christensen is a Norway’s leading contemporary writer. He is the author of ten novels as well as short stories and poetry. Christensen has won many prizes, including the Tarjei Vesaas Prize for First Fiction, the Critics Prize and the Bookseller's Prize. The Half Brother won The Nordic Prize for Literature 2002.  His writing has been published throughout Europe, in the USA and in Pakistan. Lars Saabye Christensen lives in Oslo.

The Good Doctor / Damon Galgut
Nominated by:   Hoofdstedelijke Openbare Bibliotheek, Brussels, Belgium                                
Municipal Library of Prague, Czech Republic

When Laurence Waters arrives at his new post at a deserted rural hospital, staff physician Frank Eloff is instantly suspicious. Laurence is young, optimistic, and full of big ideas—everything Frank, hardened and embittered by years of irrelevancy and disappointment in the “bush,” is not. The two become uneasy friends, while the rest of the staff in the dilapidated hospital view Laurence with a mixture of awe and distrust.

The town beyond the hospital is also coping with new arrivals and the return of old faces. The Brigadier, a self-styled dictator from apartheid days, is rumoured to be still alive.

And down at Mama’s place, a group of soldiers have moved in with their malign commandant, a man Frank has met before and is keen to avoid.  

Laurence wants to help, but in a world where the past is demanding restitution from the present, his ill-starred idealism cannot last. When the final denouement comes, who will make the cynical choice, and who the moral one?

Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs and The Quarry. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

Elle / Douglas Glover
Nominated by: Edmonton Public Library, Canada 
Ottawa Public Library, Canada

Elle is a lusty, subversive riff on the discovery of the New World, the moment of first contact. Based on a true story, Elle chronicles the ordeals and adventures of a young French woman marooned on the desolate Isle of Demons during Jacques Cartier’s ill fated and last attempt to colonize Canada.

The novel brilliantly reinvents the beginnings of this country’s history: what Canada meant to the early European adventurers, what these Europeans meant to Canada’s original inhabitants, and the terrible failure of the two worlds to recognize each other as human. In a carnal whirlwind of myth and story, of death, lust and love, of beauty and hilarity, Glover brings the past violently and unexpectedly into the present. Mysterious, mystical and thoroughly original, Elle charts the magical zone of delirium where races, genders, languages, and ideas converge- everything the history books leave out.

Douglas Glover is the author of eight works of fiction, including Sixteen Categories of Desire, A Guide to Animal Behaviour, a Governor General’s Award finalist, and The Life and Times of Captain N. Elle won the Governor General’s Literary Award 2003. 

Phantom Pain/Arnon Grunberg
Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
Nominated by:   Openbare Bibliotheek Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, The Netherlands  
Gemeentebibliotheek Utrecht, The Netherlands
Gemeentebibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Once a literary novelist of some respectability, now brought low by the double insult of obscurity and crippling debt, Robert G. Mehlman is a man in need of money and recognition, fast. It is, of course, to cookery writing that he turns. A practised decadent, a habitual spendthrift and a serial womaniser, he has, ostensibly, all the right qualities. But the path to fame is never a smooth one. 

Phantom Pain is the bitterly funny but unpublished manuscript of Mehlman's autobiography. In it, he tells the parallel stories of his decaying marriage and his puzzling affair with a woman he meets by chance and who accompanies him on the road. Their journey takes them on a chaffeur-driven, midnight run from New York to Atlantic City where they gamble away most of Mehlman's remaining funds and then north, to Albany, where his unlikely salvation, and the inspiration for his book Polish-Jewish Cuisine in 69 Recipes, lie. 

Framed by a son's account of his famous father, this novel-within-a-novel is a hilariously black account of a writer's fall and his subsequent rise. 

Arnon Grunberg was born in 1971 in Amsterdam. He began writing plays and monologues when very young and ran his own publishing company at the age of twenty-one. His first novel, Blue Mondays, became a bestseller in Europe, won the Anton Wachter Prize, and has been translated into twelve languages. Phantom Pain won the AKO Prize in Holland. Arnon Grunberg lives in New York City.

The Great Fire / Shirley Hazzard 
Nominated by:    Tucson-Pima Public Library, Tucson, USA
Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln, USA
National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia

The year is 1947. In war-torn Asia and stricken Europe, men and women, still young but veterans of harsh experience, must reinvent their lives and expectations, and learn, from their past, to dream again. Some will fulfill their destinies, others will falter. At the centre of the story, a brave and brilliant soldier finds that survival and worldly achievement are not enough. His counterpart, a young girl living in occupied Japan and tending her dying brother, falls in love, and in the process discovers herself.

In the looming shadow of world enmities resumed, and of Asia's coming centrality in world affairs, a man and a woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, struggling to reclaim their humanity The Great Fire is a deeply observed story of love and separation, of disillusion and recovered humanity. 

Shirley Hazzard is the author, most recently, of Greene on Capri, a memoir of Graham Greene, and several works of fiction, including The Evening of the Holiday, The Bay of Noon, and The Transit of Venus, winner of the 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award. The Great Fire won the 2003 National Book Award. Born in Australia, she has lived in New Zealand and Europe. She now lives in New York City with sojourns in Italy.

Willenbrock/Christoph Hein
Translated from the German by Philip Boehm
Nominated by: Deichmanske Bibliotek, Olso, Norway

In the new unified Germany, Bernd Willenbrock is the perfect man for the season. A latecomer to the free-market feast, this former East German engineer has shown an ability to adapt to the new environment that is downright Darwinian. The proud owner of a thriving used  car dealership and an attractive second home, he is a generous husband, pleased by his role of provider. The business practically runs itself, leaving Willenbrock free to spice up his days with extramarital adventures. Prosperity seems guaranteed by a steady stream of cash-only clients from Eastern Europe, and plans for a glitzy new showroom are firmly under way.

Willenbrock's self-satisfaction appears impregnable. Yet little by little, a series of ever-more menacing incidents-an attempted break-in, the theft of several cars, a vicious beating-erode his innermost certainties. No amount of locks and latches, it seems, can contain his growing obsession with external safety, relieve his suspicion of those closest to him, or stop the coming violence.

Christoph Hein, a novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist, is among Europe's most respected literary and political voices. A former president of German PEN, he is the author of the internationally acclaimed and award winning novels The Distant Lover and The Tango Player, which have been translated into seventeen languages. He lives in Berlin.

/Frances Itani

Nominated by:  Vancouver Public Library, Canada                                                                 
Toronto Public Library, Canada

Set on the eve of the Great War and spanning two continents, Deafening tells the story of Grania, a young deaf woman living in small-town Ontario, who falls in love with Jim, a hearing man. In wonderment, they create a new emotional vocabulary of sound and silence.

As the First World War explodes across Europe, Jim leaves to become a stretcher bearer on the Western Front, a place filled with unforgiving noise, violence and death. Through this long war of attrition, Jim and Grania attempt to sustain their love in a world as brutal as it is beautiful.

Frances Itani is the author of five acclaimed short-story collections, including Leaning, Leaning Over Water and Poached Eggs on Toast,  three poetry collections, and a children’s book. Her awards include the Tilden (CBC/Saturday Night) Literary Award for 1995 and 1996, the Best Short Story Award from Canadian Fiction Magazine and the Ottawa-Carleton Book Award for Fiction. Deafening, her first novel, is based loosely on the life of her grandmother. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.       

The Known World/Edward P. Jones
Nominated by:      Minneapolis Public Library, USA                                                                            
Multnomah Public Library, Portland, USA                                                                                           
Lincoln Library, Springfield, USA                                                                                                        
Richmond Public Library, USA

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, boot maker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation -- as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave "speculators" sell free black people into slavery, and rumours of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years. 

Ranging seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians -- and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.

Edward P. Jones won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his debut collection of stories, Lost in the City. The Known World, his first novel, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.                                                                                                                                    

The Fortress of Solitude/Jonatham Lethem
Nominated by:  
Houston Public Library, USA                                                                                                    Miami-Dade Public Library, USA                                                                                                      Milwaukee Public Library, USA

This is the story of two boys, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude. They are friends and neighbours, but because Dylan is white and Mingus is black, their friendship is not simple. This is the story of their Brooklyn neighbourhood, which is almost exclusively black despite the first whispers of something that will become known as "gentrification."

This is the story of 1970s America, a time when the simplest human decisions - which music you listen to, whether to speak to the kid in the seat next to you, whether to give up your lunch money - are laden with potential political, social and racial disaster. This is the story of 1990s America, when no one cared anymore.

This is the story of punk, that easy white rebellion, and crack, that monstrous plague. This is the story of the loneliness of the avant-garde artist and the exuberance of the graffiti artist.

This is the story of joyous afternoons of stickball and dreaded years of schoolyard extortion. This is the story of belonging to a society that doesn't accept you. This is the story of prison and of college, of Brooklyn and Berkeley, of soul and rap, of murder and redemption.                                                                                                                  

JONATHAN LETHEM is the author of five novels, including Motherless Brooklyn which won The National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of the story collection, The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye and the novella This Shape We’re In.  His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s, and many other periodicals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.                                                                                                     

The members of the international panel of judges for the 2005 Award are:  

Jonathan Buckley was born in Birmingham, UK. He is the author of the Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto in addition to writing guidebooks on Tuscany & Umbria and Florence, and contributing to the Rough Guides to classical music and opera. His first novel, The Biography of Thomas Lang, was published in 1997. Xerxes followed in 1999, Ghost MacIndoe in 2001, and Invisible in 2004. Since 2003 Jonathan has held a Royal Literary Fund fellowship at the University of Sussex.

 Agnès Desarthe was born in 1966 in Paris, where she now lives, with her husband - a filmmaker, and her two children. She has worked as a translator and has published numerous books for children and teenagers. She is the author of six novels, two of which, Five Photos of My Wife and Good Intentions, have been published in English to great acclaim.  She received the Prix Inter 1996 for her novel Un Secret Sans Importance.

Rita Ann Higgins was born in 1955 in Galway, Ireland. She is the author of eight collections of poetry, the most recent being An Awful Racket 2001. Throw in the Vowels: New & Selected Poems is due in May 2005. She has edited Out the Clara Road: The Offaly Anthology and co-edited Word and Image: a collection of poems from Sunderland Women's Centre and Washington Bridge Centre and Fizz: poetry of resistance and challenge 2004 – a poetry anthology written by young people. Rita has also written three plays. She is a member of Aosdána.

 Nino Ricci was born in Ontario, Canada and has taught both in Canada and abroad.  He now lives in Toronto, where he writes full time.  He is a past president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN, a writers’ human rights organization that works for freedom of expression. He is the author of four award-winning novels, Lives of the Saints, winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction, In A Glass House, Where She Has Gone and, most recently, Testament.

Milan Richter is a poet, translator and publisher, born in Bratislava in 1948. He has published eight volumes of poetry including From Behind the Velvet Curtains, 1997, An Angel with Black Feathers, 2000 and The Wrecked Temple in Me, 2002. He was forbidden to publish for more than ten years and during this time he devoted all his creative activity to translation. He has served as chairman of Slovak Literary Translators Society and as vice-chairman of the Slovak PEN Centre. He has been director of the Jan Smrek International Literary Festival in Bratislava which he launched in 2000.

Eugene R. Sullivan (non-voting chair), is a former Chief Judge of a US Court of Appeals and brings a wealth of experience from sixteen years on the bench. His first novel, The Majority Rules, will be published in January 2005. Judge Sullivan currently heads up a judicial consultancy group outside of Washington, D.C. 


The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was established by Civic Charter in 1995, the Lord Mayor of Dublin is its Patron. Awarded annually, with the objective of promoting excellence in world literature, it is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the book has been published in English or English translation in the specified time period as outlined in the rules and conditions for the year. Since its inception, the award has operated as a partnership between IMPAC and Dublin City Council. 


IMPAC (Improved Management Productivity and Control) is an international company with its headquarters based in Florida, USA. Founded in 1954 and headed up since 1972 by Dr. James B Irwin, IMPAC is a global leader in the productivity enhancement field, working on projects for major corporations and institutions in 65 countries around the world. IMPAC’s Dublin offices were established in 1988 with the development of its European regional training centre.

Dublin City Council

Dublin City Council is the municipal authority providing local government services for Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. First established in the year 1192, Dublin City Council provides a range of diverse services such as libraries, arts, planning, housing and fire services for the citizens of Dublin - to the highest international standards. Dublin City Public Libraries co-ordinates and steers the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award administrative processes involving more than 150 libraries worldwide.


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