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Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008 – Winner

Whittled down from over 100 titles to a longlist of 17 announced in January, the titles were again reduced in March to a final 6. And now, in a ceremony this evening, the winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been announced. The 2008 Prize has gone to Paul Verhaeghen for his own translation from the Dutch of Omega Minor, published by Dalkey Archive.

Since the £10,000 prize is split between both author and translator, Verhaeghan is eligible to the full amount but, instead, declined the money, much as he had done with the Flemish Culture Award. Instead, referencing the war in Iraq, he has asked for the money to be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union because:

“Withholding the tax portion of those 10,000 pounds from the US Treasury will shorten the war by a mere eye-blink-its cost is currently 3,810 dollar per second-but the ACLU can use that money to great effect in their legal battles against torture, detainee abuse, and the silence surrounding it.”

You can read his full non-acceptance speech on the Dalkey Archive site.

There’s not much I can say on the book as I’ve not read it. I’ve not even seen a copy in any book stores although I’m sure that will soon change. I’m a tad unhappy with myself for not reading it – or, indeed, any of the six shortlisted titles – as I had intended to do. But as one of my countrymen once said, “the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley” and I’ll just have to accept that.

If anyone is interested in discussing Paul Verhaeghen’s Omega Minor, there’s a thread on it over on the World Literature Forum. There’s also one on the subject of the prize itself.

May 8, 2008

2 responses to Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008 – Winner

  1. jem said:

    I’ll await your verdict on Omega Minor when you read it. At 640 pages I need the opinion of someone I trust before I pick up that kind of weight.

  2. Stewart said:

    Although it’s case of never say never, I can’t see me wanting to read a 640 page book either. Not at the moment, anyway. It’s just seems that when spring comes around I find myself having to force myself to read a book and then, by doing that, I’m not enjoying it as I would otherwise. I’ve a few reviews to catch up on, hence the drop in activity here of late.

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2 responses to Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008 – Winner

  1. jem said:

    I’ll await your verdict on Omega Minor when you read it. At 640 pages I need the opinion of someone I trust before I pick up that kind of weight.

  2. Stewart said:

    Although it’s case of never say never, I can’t see me wanting to read a 640 page book either. Not at the moment, anyway. It’s just seems that when spring comes around I find myself having to force myself to read a book and then, by doing that, I’m not enjoying it as I would otherwise. I’ve a few reviews to catch up on, hence the drop in activity here of late.

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