DUBLIN (AFP) ― British author Jon McGregor on Wednesday won the 100,000-euro ($125,000) International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, one of the world’s most lucrative honors for a work of fiction.
McGregor scooped the award for his novel “Even the Dogs” about the lives of a group of homeless drug addicts.
“‘Even the Dogs’ is an intimate exploration of life at the edges of society ― littered with love, loss, despair, and a half-glimpse of redemption,” said Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague, who presented McGregor with the award.
McGregor beat off competition from 146 other titles to win the prize which is unique in that it is based on nominations from public libraries around the world.
This year 162 libraries from 45 countries took part and the final shortlist involved 10 novels from the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil and Israel.
“Even the Dogs” was nominated by the M.I. Rudomino State Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow.
The judging panel described McGregor’s novel as a “fearless experiment.”
It showed in “close-up detail the lives of a gathering of homeless addicts as they go about their daily forage for shelter, drink or a fix.
“In a masterpiece of narrative technique, the viewpoint shifts and morphs through the lives of a handful of derelicts who stumble and fall, stumble and fall as they seek to redeem themselves from addiction, homelessness and those impulses which too often rise up within them and defeat their best interests.”
McGregor, who was born in Bermuda and raised in England, is the author of two other critically acclaimed novels.
The other novels shortlisted for this year’s prize included “Matterhorn” by Vietnam war veteran Karl Marlantes and Jennifer Egan’s 2011 Pulitzer prize-winning “A Visit from the Goon Squad.”
First awarded in 1996, the IMPAC prize ― sponsored by a Florida-based management productivity company whose European headquarters is in Dublin ― was established to underline the Irish capital’s status as a literary centre.