A Norwegian author who says he "hates plots" has won the Impac Award, the largest financial prize for a single literary work.
Petterson has already won several literary prizes for his novel
Per Petterson beat Salman Rushdie and JM Coetzee to take the 100,000 euros (£68,000) prize.
"It is a very happy man that stands before you," he said after Dublin's Lord Mayor named him the winner.
Petterson shares the prize with his translator, Anne Born, who gets 25,000 euros (£16,890).
Out Stealing Horses has already scooped two of Norway's top literary prizes, and the 2006 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
"It seems with this book I am the boy with the golden trousers," said Petterson.
"Every time I put my hand in my pockets I pick up a gold coin. It is so cool."
The novel explores the relationship between a father and son in the wake of the Second World War.
Petterson was surprised when his novel developed a plot
Impac described it as "a poignant and moving tale of a changing perspective on the world, and of nostalgia for a simpler way of life".
"I felt the book took me back to my childhood," Lebanese novelist and judge Hanan al-Shaykh told Reuters news agency.
"If the translation is this good, the book in Norwegian must be a masterpiece."
Seven other authors were on the shortlist, including British writers Julian Barnes, nominated for Arthur and George, and Peter Hobbs for The Short Day Dying.
Ireland's Sebastian Barry and US stars Cormac McCarthy and Jonathan Safran Foer were also nominated.
Petterson, a former bookseller, told the BBC last year: "I hate plots," before adding, "I hate research".
The author, 54, says he prefers to concentrate on characters and was some way into writing Out Stealing Horses when he realised, to his horror, a traditional plot pinning the book down.
The International Impac Dublin Literary Award is now in its 12th year, and is open to novels written in any language by authors of any nationality, provided the book has been published in, or translated into, English.
Petterson said the prize funds would come in useful.
"With money like this, it can buy a lot of time to write," he said, "and no hunger".