Colm Toibin became the first Irish winner Tuesday of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Toibin — whose novel “The Master” explored the tortured soul of the 19th century American novelist Henry James — received the $125,000 prize and a Waterford crystal trophy during a ceremony in Dublin City Hall. The 11-year-old prize is one of the world’s most lucrative for fiction writers.
A four-judge panel from Britain, Canada, Ireland and Italy selected “The Master” from a field of 132 novels.
The judges praised Toibin’s work as “a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart. ... Its preoccupations are truth and the elusiveness of intimacy, and from such preoccupations emerge this patient, beautiful exposure of loss, and the price of the pursuit of perfection.”
Toibin, a 50-year-old former journalist and magazine editor, has written four other novels. A visiting lecturer at Stanford University, he now plans to return to Dublin to work on a new novel.
“The great advantage of this is it really frees you, the money,” Toibin said.