'Da Vinci Code' author takes on the Booker Prize heavyweights

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Booker prize-winners are pitted against the best-selling author Dan Brown in the long-list for the world's richest book prize, the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, which was announced yesterday.

Booker prize-winners are pitted against the best-selling author Dan Brown in the long-list for the world's richest book prize, the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, which was announced yesterday.

D B C Pierre's Vernon God Little, which won the Booker Prize in 2003, has made it on to the list of almost 150 books nominated by libraries around the world for the €100,000 (£70,000) prize. Other Booker winners on the list include novels by Margaret Atwood, Anita Brookner, J M Coetzee, Graham Swift and Peter Carey. Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time gained the most nominations, while Monica Ali's Brick Lane was the third most popular book on the list.

Brown's international best-seller The Da Vinci Code is also in the running for the €100,000 honour - the largest sum of money awarded for a single novel prize, and the second largest literary award in the world after the Nobel Prize for Literature, which recognises lifetime achievement rather than a single work.

The nominations for the Impac Awards 2005 come from 185 libraries in 51 countries. To qualify, a book must have been published in English, although the original version can be in any language. In a mark of the prize's international nature, 29 of the novels on the list are translated from 15 languages. The award was established in 1995 by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to build on the Irish capital's literary heritage and is run by Dublin City Public Libraries.

Five out of the nine winners to date have been translated works, including last year's winner, The Blinding Absence of Light, by the Moroccan-born writer Tahar Ben-Jalloun.

Due to its international aspect the Impac Award has not yet achieved the same level of recognition as some of the major national book prizes. "It hasn't established itself in the same way as the Booker and the Whitbread in the UK, the National Book Awards in the US and the Prix Goncourt in France," said Joel Rickett, the deputy editor of The Bookseller.

"That is partly because of the international nature of the prize. No one country's media seems to have got behind it, so no one country owns it and it hasn't managed to attract the glittering international prestige of the Nobel Prize."

Another problem is the long lead up to the prize - because the nominations come from libraries rather than publishers, the books for the 2005 award were published in English in 2003. The shortlist will be announced on 8 March 2005.

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