**Read Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s wonderful acceptance speech.**
The Sound of Things Falling by Colombian author, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, translated from the Spanish by Canadian Anne McLean, is the winner of the 2014 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.
The €100,000 prize, organised by Dublin City Council, is the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English. Uniquely, the IMPAC DUBLIN receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognises both writers and translators.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez lived in Europe for 16 years before returning to his native Bogotá, Colombia. He is the author of two previous novels, The Informers and The Secret History of Costaguana. His books have been published in fifteen languages worldwide.
“The IMPAC DUBLIN award is the world’s most open and international book prize” said the Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Christy Burke, announcing the winner at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on 12th June, “it is not restricted by nationality or geography and since 1996 it has grown into one of the established highlights of the international literary calendar.” Juan Gabriel Vásquez received a cheque for €75,000. Anne McLean, translator of The Sound of Things Falling, received a cheque for €25,000.
The shortlist of ten novels, as chosen by an international panel of judges included novels from five continents. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is the first South American author to win the prize in its 19 year history.
Commenting on his win, Juan Gabriel Vásquez said:
For me, it’s all about the names: the names of writers who have received the award before me and whose work I’ve admired and looked up to; but particularly the name of James Joyce. I have often said that there are two books that made me want to become a writer: One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I read when I was 16, and Ulysses, which I read three years later. I’ve always felt at home in Dublin and in Irish literature. So in more ways than one, this prize is a sort of homecoming. (Read full acceptance speech)
The winning novel was translated from Spanish by Canadian translator, Anne McLean who said “It’s such a thrill to see a novel I translated win the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. I love that libraries nominate the books eligible for this prize and that translated novels are considered on an equal footing with books originally written in English. The Sound of Things Falling is a wonderful and important novel and I hope this will mean it can reach even wider readership in the English-speaking world.”
The Sound of Things Falling is the eighth novel in translation to win the award since its inception in 1996.
“Through the reach of the Dublin Award, this compelling story will be brought to readers worldwide, bringing them on a fictional journey of intrigue and fascination”, said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian.
The prize money was presented to the winner and translator by Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of the Award’s sponsors for 2014, Dublin City Council.
The judges commented:
“The Sound of Things Falling is a consummate literary thriller that resonates long after the final page. Through a masterly command of layered time periods, spiralling mysteries and a noir palette, it reveals how intimate lives are overshadowed by history; how the past preys on the present; and how the fate of individuals as well as countries is moulded by distant, or covert, events.” (read full Citation)
The Sound of Things Falling was nominated by Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas, Mexico City.
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2014 shortlist included authors from Australia (Michelle de Kretser); Argentina (Andrés Neuman); France (Marie NDiaye); Ireland (Donal Ryan); Malaysia (Tan Twan Eng); The Netherlands (Gerbrand Bakker); Northern Ireland (David Park); Norway (Karl Ove Knausgaard); and the USA (Patrick Flanery). All the shortlisted books as well as copies of the 152 novels nominated for the 2014 Award, are available to borrow from Dublin public libraries.