The Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, a long-time resident of London, has won the fiction category of the Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards for his first novel In the Country of Men. The awards were made at a ceremony in the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, on the night of Monday November 26 , by Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Seamus Brennan and Martin Naughton, the chairman of the Glen Dimplex Group. The panel of 10 judges for the awards was chaired by David Goodhart, founder and editor of the London-based monthly current affairs magazine Prospect.
The Glen Dimplex Award is the latest in a remarkable list of international awards and honours to have been won by In the Country of Men since it was first published in London by Penguin/Viking in summer 2006. The novel has been published in 22 languages so far including Arabic. It was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize – Britain’s most important literary award - and for the Guardian First Book Award. It has won the 2007 Commonwealth First Book Award (Europe and South Asia), the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, the Premio Vallombrosa Gregor von Rezzori Prize, the Premio Internazionale Flaiano (Sezione Letteratura) and the Arab American National Museum (AANM) Book Award. The novel is set in the Libyan capital Tripoli in 1979 and sees brutal political events through the eyes of the nine-year old narrator.