Kevin Barry shortlisted for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award

Limerick-born man the only Irish writer to make the shortlist, for his novel ‘City of Bohane’

Kevin Barry: “A prize with money attached to it has a lot of prestige.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Kevin Barry: “A prize with money attached to it has a lot of prestige.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 00:05

The Irish author Kevin Barry has been shortlisted for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award. The shortlist of 10 writers for the €100,000 prize was announced yesterday.

Limerick-born Barry, nominated for his debut novel City of Bohane , is the only Irish writer to make the shortlist this year. “Anything that keeps a book in the spotlight, and keeps people talking about books is good,” he said yesterday in response to the news. “And a prize with money attached to it has a lot of prestige.”

The other nine nominated writers are: Michel Houllebecq, for The Map and the Territory ; Andrew Miller, for Pure ; Haruki Murakami for 1Q84 ; Julie Otsuka for The Buddha in the Attic ; Arthur Phillips for The Tragedy of Arthur ; Karen Russell for Swamplandia ; Sjón, for From the Mouth of the Whale ; Kjersti A Skomsvold for The Faster I Walk , The Smaller I Am ; and Tommy Wieringa for Caesarion .

Shortlisted nominees, Michel Houllebecq and Andrew Miller are both previous winners, in 2002 and 1999 respectively.

Kevin Barry is also the author of two acclaimed collections of short stories, There Are Little Kingdoms , and Dark Lies the Island . Two of his stories have been published in the New Yorker .

City of Bohane is set in the mid-21st century, in Ireland, where the three main housing estates are named after Irish poets – Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh and Louis MacNeice.

Reviewing City of Bohane in this paper in 2011, Keith Ridgway described it as: “a strongly filmic world, with short scenes and mean streets, blasted outbacks and ill winds, men with troubled minds and women with secrets, and a banished hero returning for what he thinks is his.”

The New York Times review described it as “an extraordinary first novel” that was “full of marvels . . . marvels of language, invention, surprise. Savage brutality is here, but so is laughter. And humanity. And the abiding ache of tragedy.”

The Impac Dublin Literary Award was established in 1996. Two Irish novelists have been previous recipients. In 2011, Colum McCann won for Let the Great World Spin , and in 2006, Colm Tóibín won with The Master .

The 2013 winner will be announced at a ceremony during the summer.