The 2014 International Impac Dublin Literary Award has gone to Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez for his novel The Sound of Things Falling (El ruido de las cosas al caer), translated by Canadian Anne McClean, and published in the UK by Bloomsbury. This is the first South-American work to take the prize in its 19-year history. Described as a ‘hard-edged narrative influenced by the legacy of drug-trafficking in Colombia’, the book represents a departure from the established ‘magic realism’ image of Latin-American fiction.
Besides two other novels by Vásquez, The Informants (Los informantes) and The Secret History of Costaguana (Historia secreta de Costaguana,) Anne McClean has translated some of the finest Spanish-language literature of recent years, including works by Tomas Eloy Martinez, Javier Cercas, Evelio Rosero, and Enrique Vila-Matas.
The award is decided by the votes of participating libraries throughout the world and is open to original works in English or in English translation. The prize of €100,000 is the richest literary award in the world, and when a translated work wins, as in this case, €25,000 goes to the translator.
The prize was announced at a ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on 12 June.