Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mia Couto Makes the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Longlist!

So the longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award was just announced, and Mia Couto is there for The Tuner of Silences! Congratulations are due to the author — but also to David Brookshaw (translator) and Stephen Henighan (editor), who guided the book along its path to the English-speaking world.

Unlike most awards, titles on the IMPAC DUBLIN longlist are there due to nominations by a select group of libraries across the globe. Two Portuguese libraries, in this case, are responsible for The Tuner of Silence's inclusion: Biblioteca Municipal de Oeiras and Biblioteca Pública Municipal do Porto. Other books on the list include MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

Translated into English in 2013, The Tuner of Silences is the story of a son who's struggling to reconstruct his family history. Yet it's a history that his father can't discuss — until the arrival of a young woman, who breaks the silence of the past. The Independent called the book "a sad novel of poetic brilliance." And The Times Literary Supplement placed Couto "alongside the best Latin American magic realists."

After its publication, Couto was awarded the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. This followed two earlier international literary awards: the €100,000 Camões Prize in 2013 and the Latin Union Prize in 2007.

Needless to say, we're thrilled about Couto's inclusion on the longlist and hope he's awarded the prize. Not only because of the greater recognition The Tuner of Silences would receive, but because of the greater recognition Mia Couto would receive. Couto is a Mozambican writer of immense international acclaim, yet remains poorly read in North America. Given his unique perspective as an author, an environmental biologist, and a controversial essayist with strong and timely opinions on Africa, he is a man who deserves a much larger audience.

Speaking of Couto the essayist: the debut English translation of his best pieces are forthcoming from Biblioasis this spring, and it's a bombshell of a book. Keep posted!

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