World's biggest book prize for Nottingham author and honorary lecturer

John Mcgregor
03 Aug 2012 10:03:00.000

PA 173/12

It’s a prize he has always dreamed of winning and now he is bringing it home to Nottingham. Jon McGregor, award-winning writer, Honorary Graduate and Honorary Lecturer at The University of Nottingham, is one of only three British authors ever to win the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the largest prize for a novel published in English nominated by librarians all over the world. 

The £80,000 prize was awarded to Jon in Dublin for his latest novel, Even the Dogs, a beautifully written story of what happens to the body of an alcoholic after he is found dead in his flat in an unidentified English city between Christmas and New Year.

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Jon McGregor lives in Nottingham and has a close association with the University having been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2011, and in the same year becoming an Honorary Lecturer in the School of English.  He provides lectures and takes part in seminars and other special events like his recent inventively theatrical reading from his new short story collection, This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You,

at the University’s Lakeside Theatre last month.

Global Literary Accolade

Reacting to his new prize, Jon McGregor said:

"I'm absolutely delighted to have won this award, and to be bringing it home to Nottingham. The IMPAC Dublin Literary Award has always been a prize I've looked out for, as its shortlists have consistently featured books of real strength and international standing. It's one of the few prizes which considers works from anywhere in the world written in or translated into English, and as such has often highlighted real gems which might otherwise have gone unnoticed by the wider reading community. So to have received this award for Even the Dogs is a real honour. The money's not bad either."

The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, Professor David Greenaway, said:

“We are thrilled that Jon McGregor has won this prestigious international prize. It is marvellous news for the city and for our University.  We feel privileged to have strong connections with Jon as an Honorary Graduate and Honorary Lecturer in our University. This award is a stunning achievement in the highly competitive global literary field and both staff and students will be very proud to associate with Jon as one of the creative figureheads of the University.”  

‘Life at the edges of society’

Jon’s novel, Even The Dogs, was chosen from a shortlist of 10, and a longlist of 147 books. 166 libraries participated from 126 cities in 43 countries. Announcing the IMPAC winner at a ceremony in Dublin's Mansion House on 15th June, the Lord Mayor and Patron of the Award, Andrew Montague, said “The book is an intimate exploration of life at the edges of society - littered with love, loss, despair, and a half-glimpse of redemption.”

The international panel of judges commented that Even the Dogs is a fearless experiment which shows us in close-up detail the lives of a gathering of homeless addicts as they go about their daily forage for shelter, drink or a fix. In a masterpiece of narrative technique, the viewpoint shifts and morphs through the lives of a handful of derelicts who stumble and fall, stumble and fall as they seek to redeem themselves from addiction, homelessness and those impulses which too often rise up within them and defeat their best interests. The novel was nominated by M.I. Rudomino State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia.

Head of the University’s School of English, Professor Julie Sanders, said:

“The School of English is brimming with pride at the announcement of Jon McGregor’s success in the IMPAC literary prize. Jon has been a wonderful presence in the School this year as an honorary lecturer, working with energy and verve alongside staff and students and taking part in highly successful public events at the Lakeside Theatre. We are simply delighted to see his outstanding writing honoured in this way.”

Further details on Jon McGregor’s book prize can be found at

You can watch Jon McGregor’s acceptance speech at his honorary degree ceremony here:

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Notes for editors

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is presented annually to promote excellence in world literature. It is open to novels written in any language and by authors of any nationality, provided the work has been published in English or English translation in the specified time period as outlined in the rules and conditions for the year. Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world.

Previous winners of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award include:
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (2011), The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker (2010), Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas (2009), De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage (2008), Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2007) and The Master by Colm Tóibín (2006)

The 2012 shortlisted novels were Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer, The Matter with Morris by David Bergen, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Memory of Love by Animatta Forna, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes, Landed by Tim Pears , Limassol by Yishai Sarid,The Eternal Son by Cristovão Tezza and Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin.

See for full details of the International IMPAC Dublin Award.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011, a league table of the most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit:

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Award for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research on global food security. More news from the University at:

Story credits

More informationis available from Matthew Welton, Lecturer in Writing and Creativity, School of English on +44 (0)115 846 7160 

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