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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 15:06 GMT
World's richest fiction prize reveals shortlist
Seamus Heaney
Dublin is home to the Nobel winner Seamus Heaney
Six writers have been shortlisted for a 75,000 prize for a single work of fiction - the world's richest literary award.

The winner of the 2001 International Impac Dublin Literary Awards will win considerably more than their Booker or Whitbread prize counterparts, who get 20,000 and 22,500 respectively.

Ireland's Colm Toibin and Scottish writer Andrew O'Hagan were among those in the running for the prize, which will be announced on 14 May.

The shortlist, which includes works translated into English, was announced by a panel of judges who sifted through nominations by more than 200 libraries in 100 worldwide cities.

Dublin
The city of Dublin is home to many literary greats
Toibin was nominated for The Blackwater Lightship, which was also listed for Britain's 1999 Booker Prize, while O'Hagan was listed for his first novel, Our Fathers.

Toibin's book was described by Impac as an "astonishingly acute" study of morals and manners, while Our Fathers revealed O'Hagan, who has previously written factual work, to be a "novelist of great distinction".

The Book Seller, a publishing trade journal, confirmed to BBC News Online that the only award which pays more is the Nobel prize, which rewards a broad body of works rather than a single book.

The full shortlist is as follows:

  • The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin (Ireland)
  • Our Fathers by Andrew O'Hagan (Scotland)
  • The True History of Paradise by Margaret Cezair-Thompson (Jamaica)
  • No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (Canada)
  • The Love You Promised Me by Silvia Molina (Mexico)
  • The Clay Machine Gun by Victor Pelevin (Russia).

The six-member judging panel includes Northern Irish poet Medbh McGuckian and London-based writer Fred D'Aguiar.

Last year's prize was won by young British novelist Nicola Barker for Wide Open, beating Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison and veteran US author Philip Roth.

George Bernard Shaw
Nobel literature prize winner George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin
The IMPAC award was set up in 1996 by Dublin City Council and the US management company Impac to underline the Irish capital's stature as a literary Mecca.

Dublin is certainly used to having its share of literary greats - it is the birthplace of Nobel literature prize winners George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett.

It is also home to the 1995 Nobel winner, Northern Ireland-born poet Seamus Heaney, and was the birthplace of James Joyce, considered by some to be the greatest writer in English since Shakespeare.

See also:

24 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Whitbread victory for Kneale
07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Atwood wins Booker Prize
16 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Poet gets 75,000 for sea odyssey
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