Gerbrand Bakker Gets the Impac Award
Cheers to Gerbrand Bakker for taking home Dublin's IMPAC Prize for Fiction, "the world's richest prize for a single work of fiction!"

He won this year's award for his novel "The Twin":

"Helmer van Wonderen was born a few minutes before his identical twin, Henk, but throughout their youth, Henk seemed more like the older brother. Henk was more popular, the better athlete, and their father's favorite; it went without saying that Henk would take over the family's small dairy farm, and it was no surprise when the beautiful Riet chose to marry Henk instead of Helmer. The van Wonderen farm was far too small to support two families, so Helmer sought to begin a separate life and enrolled in university in Amsterdam."

"Months before their wedding, Riet skids off the road and drives into a lake, with Henk in the passenger seat. She makes it out without a scratch; Henk drowns. Old Mr. van Wonderen banishes Riet from his sight, then utters these life-changing words to Helmer: "You're done there in Amsterdam." Helmer withdraws from university, resigning himself to becoming Henk and spending the rest of his days with his head under a cow."

If you win the Impac, a Florida productivity improvement company will give you a hundred thousand British dollars.

To put that in perspective, the Manhattan cafe where I work just spent $10,000 on business cards.

Also, no one really knows what a productivity improvement company does. For instance, the drug Mucinex promises to make your cough "more productive," but this just means that it will make you cough up bright neon snot onto the floors of subways.

Is it possible that the "world's richest prize for a single work of fiction" is a really half-assed money laundering operation?

From "The IMPAC Way":

"More than a decade ago, IMPAC did a survey of the worldwide IMPAC team on their likes and dislikes, what they enjoyed doing, and so forth. One of the major elements coming from that survey was a love of reading. Coincidentally, IMPAC Florida Chairman, Dr. James B. Irwin, Sr., was meeting with the Lord Mayor of Dublin Alderman Gay Mitchell. In the course of their conversations, this love of reading came up, and so was born THE INTERNATIONAL IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD©"

The IMPAC prize: after a "casual FridaY' of drinks and laffs at Bennigans, everybody gets serious for a moment and DECIDES THE FATE OF ENGLISH LITERATURE EVERY YEAR?

Either way, Bakker gets money and prestige so fucking good on him. IRL, Bakker is a gardener.

From The Guardian:

"Bakker became a licensed gardener in 2006 and also works during the winter as a skating instructor, but says that these days he makes enough money to be a full-time writer. "I became a gardener in 2006 when I thought I had to learn something so I can always make money, and I still do as much work as I can," he said. "The two things work well together. In the autumn when I rake the dead leaves I can do it for hours -- once I even disturbed a pile I'd made so I could go on raking. The sound is so wonderful: it lets you think in a subconscious way, in the back of your mind."

As for the huge cheque he'll be taking away this evening, Bakker thinks he might buy a horse. "Not a race horse, but a cart horse, a work horse. In Holland we've got these huge grey horses which are very sweet and I would like to own one," he said. "I'm not a rider but I just love these big beasts. They're so kind. You can lie on top of them every day for 10 minutes, not ride them -- and then feed them a carrot or 10."


Man don't fucking condescend to us right in our faces. We are writers. We know what condescension sounds like.

The word "Impac" sort of sounds like the word "impact," just like how the word "Booker" sort of sounds like "book," and the word "Nobel" sort of sounds like "noble."

What this means is, if you can convince your Boy Scout troop, favorite whiskey company, university, or meth dealer to pony up $100,001 British dollars next year (half the salary of a good, crooked accountant), you will be able to bankroll the world's most lucrative fiction prize.

You can call it whatever you want. I think some good names for a fiction prize would be "The Devil's Prize," or "The Alcohol Prize." Or "The Small, Good Novel Award."

Posted by miracle on Mon, 28 Jun 2010 22:41:07 -0500 -- permanent link

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