Ten books by authors from eight nations were on Thursday picked from 125 nominated titles as contenders for the prize, worth $122,000. The shortlist included US author Paul Auster's "The Book of Illusions".
Ben Jelloun's novel tells the story of desert concentration camps in which King Hassan II of Morocco held his political enemies under the most distressing conditions.
Commenting on the award, the panel of judges said: "This Blinding Absence of Light is a masterpiece among novels, told with searing simplicity and the sparest of language (due credit to the translator, Linda Coverdale)."
Nominations were made by 162 public libraries representing 125 cities from 47 countries.
The award is a partnership between Dublin City Council, the Municipal Government of Dublin City and IMPAC, a productivity improvement company operating in more than 50 countries.