Gerbrand Bakker Wins 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

The 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has been won by Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker for his debut novel, The Twin. The announcement was made at a black tie dinner this evening by The Patron of the Award, The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Emer Costello, at the Mansion House in Dublin. Bakker received a trophy provided by Dublin City Council as well as a cheque for €75,000. The book’s translator David Colmer received €25,000 of the overall €100,000 prize money.

“Gerbrand Bakker joins a long list of eminent novelists to win this award and having a novel in translation as the winner, means that this beautifully written Dutch novel will come to the attention of readers world-wide, who might otherwise never have come across it. Dublin City Council and IMPAC are extremely proud that the IMPAC DUBLIN Award has grown into one of the highlights, not only of the Irish, but also of the international literary calendar.”

Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Cllr. Emer Costello

What the IMPAC judges thought of The Twin:

“Though rich in detail, it’s a sparely written story, with the narrator’s odd small cruelties, laconic humour and surprising tendernesses emerging through a steady, well-paced, unaffected style.

The book convinces from first page to last. With quiet mastery the story draws in the reader. The writing is wonderful: restrained and clear, and studded with detail of farm rhythms in the cold, damp Dutch countryside. The author excels at dialogue, and Helmer’s inner story-telling voice also comes over perfectly as he begins to change everything around him. There are intriguing ambiguities, but no false notes. Nothing and no one is predictable, and yet we believe in them all: the regular tanker driver, the next door neighbour with her two bouncing children, and Jaap, the old farm labourer from the twins’ childhood who comes back to the farm in time for the last great upheaval, as Helmer finally takes charge of what is left of his own life.”

Over the past ten years the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has become the richest and most prestigious of literary awards. It is managed by Dublin City Libraries, on behalf of Dublin City Council. It is sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company with its European headquarters in Dublin.

The Award is presented 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 work has been published in English or English translation in the specified time period as outlined in the rules and conditions for the year. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world.

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