Colombian drug thriller wins International Impac Dublin Literary Award


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The Independent Culture

A thriller about the Colombian drug trade has won the €100,000 (£80,436) International Impac Dublin Literary Award, the first time a South American author has picked up the prize in its 19-year history.

Juan Gabriel Vasquez’s novel The Sound of Things Falling was yesterday named the winner of the world’s largest prize for a single novel published in English.

The writer, who lived in Europe for 16 years but has since returned to Bogota, picked up a cheque for €75,000, while translator Anne McLean, received €25,000. It is the eighth novel in translation to win the award.

“I’ve always felt at home in Dublin and in Irish literature. So in more ways than one, this prize is a soft of homecoming,” Vasquez said of the award organised by Dublin City Council.

He also spoke of his admiration for the writing 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.”

The prize receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe. Vasquez’s novel, which was a finalist for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, triumphed against acclaimed international-selling novelists including Karle Ove Knausgaard and Marie NDiaye, which had been nominated by libraries in 39 countries.