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Impac Literary Award Goes to a Moroccan
The New York Times 
18, 2004

A Moroccan author, Tahar Ben Jelloun, was named the winner yesterday of the $120,000 International Impac Dublin Literary Award, the world's richest prize for a single work of fiction published in English.

Mr. Ben Jelloun won for his fact-based novel, ''This Blinding Absence of Light'' (New Press, 2002), about a soldier imprisoned in a desert concentration camp after taking part in an abortive coup against King Hassan II of Morocco in 1971. The book was written in French, and Mr. Ben Jelloun will receive three-fourths of the prize money, with the rest going to Linda Coverdale, who translated the novel.

Mr. Ben Jelloun, born in Fez in 1944, has lived since 1961 in France, where he won the Prix Goncourt in 1987 for his novel ''The Sacred Night.'' The Impac Dublin Literary Award is financed by Impac, a Florida-based management company owned by James B. Irwin Sr., who wanted to note Ireland's contributions to world literature. It is administered by Dublin City Public Libraries, and nominations are made by public libraries around the world.

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