IMPAC Award goes to Vásquez’s ‘The Sound of Things Falling’

Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award from a field of 10 shortlistees. — AFP pic
Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award from a field of 10 shortlistees. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, June 12 — Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez sees his literary thriller “The Sound of Things Falling” win the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

With the award, based in Ireland, consisting of nominations from 150 libraries in 38 countries and then voted upon by an international panel of judges, Vásquez cited his two greatest literary influences as being Colombian and Irish in nature.

“I have often said that there are two books that made me want to become a writer: ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude,’ which I read when I was 16, and ‘Ulysses,’ which I read three years later. I’ve always felt at home in Dublin and in Irish literature. So in more ways than one, this prize is a sort of homecoming.”

Though the author is well acquainted with Paris, Belgium, and Barcelona, Vásquez’s “The Sound of Things Falling” is rooted in a tumultuous Bogota of the 1970s, following the fortunes of a Law professor and an ex-pilot.

The June 12 prizegiving marks the eighth time that the IMPAC Award has been awarded to a work in translation over its 19-year history, with a €100,000 sum divided 3:1 between Vásquez and his translator, Anne McLean.

Previous winners include Colm Tóibín, Orhan Pamuk, Michel Houellebecq, Rawi Hage and Herta Müller.

Among the 10 shortlistees for this year’s award were 2010 winner Gerbrand Bakker with “The Detour,” French writer Marie NDiaye with “Three Strong Women,” and “The Garden of Evening Mists” by Malaysia’s Tan Twan Eng. —AFP-Relaxnews