Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It's now official: Omega Minor has been nominated for the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literature Award. Along with 145 other books.

This award is special for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the tremendous amount of moolah involved -- 100,000 euros. The nominations come from libraries rather than professional judges, which is cool too. Those libraries span the globe. And the award is open to (almost, there is a time restriction) all books available in English in 2008.

So, you ask, who nominated Omega Minor? No doubt the library of Leuven, where you lived for 13 years or so? Nope, not Leuven. Perhaps Brussels, then, or Ghent? Nope, not any of the Flemish libraries. FLEMISH LIBRARIES NOMINATED NOT A SINGLE FLEMISH NOVEL. English-language lit is soooo much more interesting. Soooo open, those Flemish folk, perhaps they might win a literature Nobel after all, one day. Let me repeat that: FLEMISH LIBRARIES NOMINATED NOT A SINGLE FLEMISH NOVEL. And then the Flemish literati cry that nobody takes FlemLit seriously. I bet that if you let the Flemish vote for the world's best beer they'd pick Heineken over Stella, out of sheer modesty.

The libraries that nominated Omega Minor are The Hague and Rotterdam -- Dutch libraries. Dutch libraries also nominated books by Kluun, Kornmehl, Noort, Nooteboom, and van Royen -- Dutch writers. They have some national pride over there. Which makes me even more grateful to the good folks in Den Haag (who, after all, also gave OM its first literary award) and Rotterdam. Next time I visit your town and you recognize me, I'll buy you a beer.

Even if you request a Heineken. But only if the bar runs out of Grolsch.


MBR said...


Jef van Gool said...

Beste Paul,

Leuk om te lezen dat ik een pilsje van je te goed heb. Dat mag ook een Jupiler zijn, hoor. Sommige Vlamingen wonen in de VS, sommige in Nederland, in Den Haag bijvoorbeeld. En nu maar hopen dat de internationale jury van deze eregalerij van de roman Omega Minor op waarde weet te schatten en het in maart of april in haar lijst met nominaties opneemt.

Hartelijke groet en wie weet tot ziens in Den Haag,

Jef van Gool
Vereniging van Openbare Bibliotheken, bedenker en beheerder van www.literatuurplein.nl

Faith Hunter said...

Congratulations on your nomination! And it is a very interesting point that you make about Flemish libraries. I translated Kornmehl's De vlindermaand so of course, am also very grateful to the proud Dutch!

Here in Australia too it is a point of discussion, which Australian libraries didn't nominate any Australian writers? Apparently there was only one. The rest have all been doing their patriotic duty!

Good Luck!

Paul Verhaeghen said...

Congrats on your nomination!

Now, there is really no discussion in Flanders about not nominating any Flemish (or Dutch) authors, I don't think (I didn't see anything in the Flemish lit blogs or in the dailies). And that is part of my point. How can I (or any other Flem lit writer), say, proudly represent Flemish lit if I am (we all are) chopped liver to the Flemish public?