Cortez Island author Ruth Ozeki earns IMPAC award nomination

Cortez Island writer Ruth Ozeki has made the long-list for one of the world’s richest book prizes.

Ozeki’s novel, A Tale for the Time Being, is a contender for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The annual prize is worth about $177,000. Books are nominated by public libraries around the world.

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Eleven titles with Canadian ties made the cut. Margaret Atwood is in the running for MaddAddam, while Joseph Boyden is up for The Orenda.

Other Canadian authors making the long list are Under Budapest by Ailsa Kay; For Sure by France Daigle; The Strangers’ Gallery by Paul Bowdring; and The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud;

Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being was nominated for the Man Booker Prize last year. However, that award went to New Zealand author Elizabeth Catton for The Luminaries, which is also up for the International IMPAC award.

A Tale for the Time Being is about a diary washed ashore inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox and the profound effect it has on the writer who discovers it. The novel is populated by earthquake-causing catfish, an ancient Buddhist nun and 16-year-old Nao, who lives in Tokyo.

Ozeki worked as a movie art director in New York in the mid-1980s, designing sets and props for low-budget horror films. She went on to become an award-winning filmmaker in her own right before turning to fiction. Her first novel, My Year of Meats (1998), was a commercial and critical success, published in 11 languages in 14 countries.

Judges will now begin the task of deciding on a short list, to be revealed April 15. The winner is to be revealed June 17.

The last Canadian winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award was Rawi Hage, who took the prize in 2008 for De Niro’s Game. The late Alistair MacLeod won in 2001 for his only novel, Some Great Mischief.

— Adrian Chamberlain and the Canadian Press

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