Give the folks behind the IMPAC this; they tried. They worked hard at branding the prize as “truly international”; they pointed out that it’s compiled by librarians; they have been genuinely open to including works in translation; and they’re still stuck with being known as the “world’s richest prize”. Never mind. The winner’s not going to be complaining, trust me.
For the 2005 award, the IMPAC whittled down a truly loooooong longlist to a total of ten on the shortlist:
Gardening at Night by Diane Awerbuck
The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen
(translated from the Norwegian by Kenneth Steven)
The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut
Elle by Douglas Glover
Phantom Pain by Arnon Grunberg
(translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett)
The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
Willenbrock by Christoph Hein
(translated from the German by Philip Boehm)
Deafening by Frances Itani
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
Among the authors who didn’t make the cut: T C Boyle, Monica Ali, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, J M Coetzee, Peter Carey, Gunter Grass, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mario Vargas Llosa (tut tut), M G Vassanji…Dan Brown and John Grisham. At least the last two can’t complain that they really, really needed the hundred thousand euros.