Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, overcoming competition from Zoe Heller and Marilynne Robinson for the prize of 100,000 euros ($124,000).
Bakker was honored this evening at Dublin’s Mansion House for “The Twin” (Harvill Secker), the story of a man forced to return to his family’s farm in the flat, bleak Dutch countryside after his twin brother dies in a car accident.
The judges praised the novel for its restraint and clarity.
“Though rich in detail, it’s a sparely written story, with the narrator’s odd small cruelties, laconic humor and surprising tendernesses emerging through a steady, well-paced, unaffected style,” they said in an e-mailed statement.
Bakker will share the prize money with translator David Colmer, who receives 25,000 euros.
This year’s shortlisted books included Heller’s “The Believers” (Fig Tree), Robinson’s “Home” (Farrar/Virago) and Joseph O’Neill’s “Netherland” (Pantheon/Fourth Estate).
The other finalists were “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery (Europa Editions/Gallic Books), “In Zodiac Light” by Robert Edric (Doubleday), “Settlement” by Christoph Hein (Metropolitan) and “God’s Own Country” by Ross Raisin (Viking).
The prize was first awarded in 1996. Previous winners have included Colm Toibin, who received it in 2006 for “The Master.” The contest is managed by Dublin City Libraries and draws on nominations from librarians around the globe. This year’s 155 nominations came from 163 public libraries in 43 cities, the organizers said.
IMPAC is a trademark of Integrated Control Systems Inc., a Florida corporation specializing in management productivity.