By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – Romanian author Herta Muller has won the 1998 International IMPAC Dublin Literary award, the world’s richest prize for a single work of fiction, it was announced by Lord Mayor John Stafford.
The award, which involves a prize of _100,000, has gone to the Berlin-based writer for her book “The Land of Green Plums.”
Muller, who’s 45, lost her teaching job in Romania after refusing to cooperate with the secret police, the Securitate. She was able to emigrate in 1987.
Her book is set in Romania during the reign of terror of Dictator Nicolai Ceausescu and is a study of a generation ruined by fear.
It tells the story of a group of young people who leave the poverty of the provinces for a city. All the narrator’s friends betray her, do away with themselves, or both.
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Muller has already won Germany’s most prestigious literary award, the Kliest Prize.
The winner was chosen from 88 eligible novels nominated by public libraries in 104 cities in 50 countries around the world.
The nominating process was administered by Dublin city public libraries.
A judging panel chaired by American Professor Allen Weinstein chose the winner from a short list of ten books.
IMPAC (Improved Management Profitability and Control), a U.S. headquartered management consultancy company operating in more than 50 countries, has committed _2 million to the awards.
Last year, the award went to Spanish novelist Javier Marias for “A Heart So White.” Australian author David Malouf won the inaugural award in 1996 for “Remembering Babylon.”