Saturday, June 13, 2009

Michael Thomas Wins Literary's Largest Fiction Award For Man Gone Down

Debut Novelist Michael Thomas Wins EU100,000 Irish Book Award

U.S. author Michael Thomas won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his debut novel, collecting 100,000 euros ($140,880) in what is billed as the world’s richest prize for a single work of fiction.

Thomas was honored at a reception at Dublin’s Mansion House today for “Man Gone Down,” about a once-promising Harvard student who is now broke and trying to raise money to keep his family together.

The unnamed African-American first-person narrator “will stay with readers for a long time,” the judges said in a statement. “He lingers because this extraordinary novel comes to us from a writer of enthralling voice and startling insight.”

Boston-born Thomas, who now lives in New York with his wife and three children, overcame competition from seven other finalists, including Junot Diaz for “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which has already won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle award, and David Leavitt for “The Indian Clerk.”

In all, there were four Americans on the shortlist, as well as authors born in France, India, Norway and Pakistan. The only other U.S. writer to win the award was Edward P. Jones in 2005 for “The Known World.” MORE