British author Jim Crace won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award today, one of the most lucrative literary prizes in the world, for his novel "Harvest."
Crace beat out nine other writers, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ("Americanah") and Colum McCann ("TransAtlantic"), to take home the award, worth about $112,000.
In a news release, Crace said, "It has been an overwhelming surprise and a delight to discover that my latest book has won the IMPAC Dublin award. ... [T]hanks to the further generosity of a whole wide-world network of book-loving strangers, 'Harvest' has struck lucky again -- it will be included in the distinguished and twenty-year-long list of fiction honoured by this truly international and discriminating award. No writer could hope for more than that.”
"Harvest" tells the story of a week in a tiny English village, where residents become concerned about the arrival of three strangers, and a mysterious fire that burns down a stable and a dovecote in the town.
In the Times, David L. Ulin called the novel "deftly written" and "tightly plotted," writing, "He's been hinting at retirement since 2008 or so, but in many ways this book feels like a summing up."
Crace told the Guardian he plans to retire but will still continue writing, although "only for himself." He didn't entirely rule out publishing another novel, saying, "What has changed is that with the level of success of 'Harvest,' and these prizes, it has to be a grand book: or it doesn’t get published. I will not publish a new book unless it hits hard. I can make the choice. I don’t have to publish a book I am not entirely happy with."
The IMPAC prize is awarded annually to a book published two years earlier; candidates are nominated by public libraries worldwide. "Harvest" was released in 2013, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year.
The award is sponsored by the Dublin City Council. To be eligible, a book must be a work of fiction either written in or translated into English. Last year's award went to Juan Gabriel Vásquez, a Colombian writer, for his novel "The Sound of Things Falling," translated into English by Anne McLean.
"Harvest" was nominated this year by Universitätsbibliothek Bern, a college library in Switzerland, and by the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library in Tallahassee, Fla.