Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize for Prophet Song – The

Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize for “Prophet Song” – The New York Times

“Prophet Song,” which Grove Atlantic will release in North America on Dec. 5, a week earlier than originally planned, beat out five other shortlisted titles, including Paul Murray’s “The Bee Sting,” “Western Lane ” by Chetna Maroo and “This” by Paul Harding Other Eden.” The other novels that made the shortlist were “If I Survive You” by Jonathan Escoffery and “Study for Obedience” by Sarah Bernstein.

The Booker, which carries a cash prize of £50,000, or around $63,000, is awarded annually to the best novel written in English and published in Britain or Ireland. Established in 1969, previous winners of the prize include literary giants such as Hilary Mantel, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, although the prize is also known for helping to create stars. Last year, Shehan Karunatilaka, a Sri Lankan writer, won for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, a novel that explores the trauma of his country’s civil war.

Lynch, 46, a former film critic, made his literary debut in 2013 with “Red Sky in Morning,” set in the 19th century and about an Irishman who flees to America after killing a man. His other novels include “Beyond the Sea,” about two men stranded off the coast, and “Grace,” set during an Irish famine. Katherine Grant, reviewing this book in The New York Times, joked, “It’s not hard to tell the difference between Paul Lynch’s writings and a ray of sunshine.” Lynch had “an undiminished appetite for depicting suffering,” she added .

Set in the near future, “Prophet Song” centers on Eilish Stack, a scientist and mother of four whose union husband is kidnapped by security forces, an early sign of growing authoritarian rule that eventually sees Ireland in the midst of a civil war .