Belgian author wins London’s book prize

13th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Flemish author Paul Verhaeghen has been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his novel, Omega minor.

13 May 2008

BELGIUM - The Flemish author Paul Verhaeghen has been awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his novel Omega minor.

Verhaeghen's book emerged first out of the 100 others novels.

Verhaeghen, who currently lives in the United States, translated his book from Dutch into English.

Omega Minor was already honoured in 2005, when the book was awarded the Flemish Community Culture Prize.

However, Verhaeghen refused to accept the cash prize, as he would have had to have paid tax on it in the United States.

He told the British newspaper the Guardian that "Part of this book is about the rise and aftermath of fascism in Nazi Germany. And it's hard to miss the analogous things happening in the US."

"I refused the Flemish Culture award after I realised around USD 5,000 of the winnings would go to the US treasury."

"So this time, I decided to give the money to the American Civil Liberties Union, which works for civil rights."

"The money won't be liable for tax."

A story of love and death
Omega Minor, is a story of love and death on the greatest possible scale. Its whirlwind plot takes in Berlin, Boston, Los Alamos and Auschwitz.

Its characters include neo-Nazis, a physics professor who returns to Potsdam to atone for his sins, a Holocaust survivor going over his trauma with a young psychologist and an Italian postgraduate who designs an experiment that will determine the fate of the universe.

As well as English and Dutch versions of the book, Omega Minor has been also been translated into German and a French version is on the way.

Author and translator
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has been awarded each year since 1990 to the best work of contemporary fiction that has been translated into English.

The cash prize of GBP 10,000 (EUR 13,500) is usually split 50-50 between the author and the translator.

However, in this case, Verhaeghen is both author and translator.

[ / Expatica]

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