Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker wins Impac literary award

Gerbrand Bakker. Taken by Jason Clarke Judges said Bakker's writing was "restrained and clear"

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Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker has won the 100,000 euro (£83,500) International Impac Dublin Literary Award for his debut novel The Twin.

Judges praised the book, about a man who returns to his family farm after the death of his twin, for its "laconic humour and surprising tenderness".

Bakker beat competition from 155 other novels nominated by 163 libraries from around the world.

The Impac award offers the biggest cash prize worldwide for a work of fiction.

Start Quote

The writing is wonderful - restrained and clear and studded with detail of farm rhythms in the cold, damp Dutch countryside”

End Quote Impac judges

Bakker's translator, David Colmer, will receive 25,000 euros (£20,800) of the prize money.

In Bakker's book, the main character, Helmer, resigns himself to taking over the role of his dead bother and "spending the rest of his days with his head under a cow".

"The writing is wonderful - restrained and clear and studded with detail of farm rhythms in the cold, damp Dutch countryside," the judges said.

"The author excels at dialogue and Helmer's inner story-telling voice also comes over perfectly as he begins to change everything around him."

Dublin Mayor Emer Costello, a patron of the award, said that "having a novel in translation as the winner means that this beautifully written Dutch novel will come to the attention of readers worldwide".

Other authors on a shortlist of eight included Britons Zoe Heller, Ross Raisin and Robert Edric along with Irishman Joseph O'Neill.

The prize, run by the city's public libraries and sponsored by a US company with its European headquarters in the city, was first awarded in 1996.

It is open to novels written in any language by authors of any nationality, provided the book has been published in or translated into English.

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