Digging into the IMPAC Longlist

November 11, 2008 | 15 books mentioned 2 min read

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has unveiled its voluminous 2009 longlist. Recall that libraries around the world can nominate books for the prize, and these nominations, taken together, comprise the longlist. This year there are 146 novels on the list, nominated by 157 libraries in 41 countries. All of the books must have been published in English in 2007 (including translations).

Because of the award’s global reach and egalitarian process, it’s always interesting to dig deeper into the longlist. Taken as a whole, the literary proclivities of various countries become evident, and a few titles recur again and again, revealing which books have made a global impact on readers.

Overall favorites: books that were nominated by at least five libraries.

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  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (18 libraries representing Belgium, England, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Uganda, and the US)
  • Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje (13 libraries representing Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US)
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (10 libraries representing Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands, and the US)
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (8 libraries representing Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, and the US)
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon (8 libraries representing Canada, England, and the US)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (7 libraries representing Ireland and the US)
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (6 libraries representing Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, and the US)
  • What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn (5 libraries representing Canada, England, and Northern Ireland)

You can also look at the list and see which books are favorites in different countries. Several books were nominated by multiple libraries in the same country. Here’s a few:

There were also several countries with only one library nominating just one or two books. Here are a few of those:

The shortlist will be announced on April 2, 2009 and the winner on June 11, 2009.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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