European Union Prize for Literature

Creative EuropeEuropean and International Booksellers FederationEuropean Writers' CouncilFederation of European Publishers


7 June 2013

City of Bohane by Kevin Barry is the winner of the 2013 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award.

Lord-Mayor Naoise Ó Muirí, 2013 award winner Kevin Barry and Margaret Hayes (picture by Jason Clarke Photography)


"The €100,000 prize is the largest prize for a single novel published in English, and nominations are made by public libraries around the globe".

Irish-born Kevin Barry hails from Limerick and lives in Sligo, on Ireland’s west coast. He is the author of two award winning short story collections and City of Bohane is his first novel.

"I’m thrilled to see an Irish author of such immense talent take home this year’s award. City of Bohane is a vivid, atmospheric portrayal of a city in the West of Ireland set in the future but mired in the past. The highly original cast of characters are at once flamboyant and malevolent, speaking in a vernacular like no other", said the Lord-Mayor of Dublin and Patron of the Award, Naoise Ó Muirí, announcing the winner at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on 6th June. Kevin Barry received the trophy and a cheque for €100,000 at the presentation dinner following the announcement.

The winning novel beat off competition from 153 other titles, nominated by 160 libraries from 44 countries. It was first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape. The shortlist of ten novels, as chosen by an international panel of judges, included novels from France, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA. Kevin Barry is the third Irish author to win the prize. It was awarded to Colm Tóibín in 2006 for The Master and to Colum McCann in 2011 for Let the Great World Spin.

Commenting on his achievement, Kevin Barry said: "The fact that this award originates with the libraries is what makes it very special for me – libraries are where we learn that we can live our lives through books".

"City of Bohane is a worthy winner from a truly international shortlist", said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian. "The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013 shortlist included authors from France (Michel Houellebecq), Iceland (Sjón), Ireland (Kevin Barry), Japan (Haruki Murakami and Julie Otsuka), Norway (Kjersti Skomsvold), the Netherlands (Tommy Wieringa), the United Kingdom (Andrew Miller), and the USA (Arthur Philips, Julia Ostuka and Karen Russell). All the shortlisted books as well as copies of the 154 novels nominated for the 2013 Award, are available to borrow from Dublin public libraries".

The judges said: "Kevin Barry’s Ireland of 2053 is a place you may not want to be alive in but you’ll certainly relish reading about. This is not a future of shiny technology but one in which history turns in circles and quirks an eyebrow at the idea of ‘progress’".

City of Bohane was nominated by the Cork, Dublin and Limerick City Libraries.

More about City of Bohane

The Award is organised by Dublin City Libraries on behalf of Dublin City Council and sponsored by IMPAC, an international management productivity company."