Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 12:14 UK

Lebanese writer wins Impac award

De Niro's Game
De Niro's Game is Hage's first novel

Lebanese writer Rawi Hage has won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, the world's most lucrative literary prize.

Hage won for his debut novel, De Niro's Game, beating seven other authors to the 100,000 euros (79,000) prize.

"I am a fortunate man," he said after being handed the award.

De Niro's Game tells of two childhood friends growing up in war-torn Beirut who must choose between self-imposed exile or a life of crime at home.

"After a long journey of war, displacement and separation, I feel that I am one of the few wanderers who is privileged enough to have been rewarded, and for that I am very grateful," Hage said.

Hage, who lived through nine years of civil war in Beirut before emigrating to Canada, was chosen from 137 novelists nominated by 162 public libraries in 45 countries across the globe.

Other finalists included Javier Cercas for The Speed Of Light, Yasmine Gooneratne for The Sweet And Simple Kind and Gail Jones for Dreams Of Speaking.

Also shortlisted were Sayed Kashua for Let It Be Morning, Yasmina Khadra for The Attack, and Andrei Makine for The Woman Who Waited.




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