11 August 2005

Three Irish writers nominated for Booker long list

Irish Examiner

11 August 2005

By Ian Kilroy, Arts Editor
THE Man Booker long list announced yesterday has a strong Irish showing, with authors John Banville, Sebastian Barry and William Wall all in the running for the prestigious £50,000 book award.
It is John Banville’s second time being nominated for the prize, having been previously nominated in 1989 for The Book of Evidence. Cork-native Wall and Dublin-native Barry have never previously made the nomination list.

Banville’s book, The Sea, tells the story of a recently widowed man returning to the seaside village where he spent his youth. Written in Banville’s characteristic elegant prose, it is a clear favourite to make the short list to be announced in September.

Better known as an award-winning playwright, Barry’s novel, A Long Long Way, deals with the Irish dimension of World War I, taking its title from the song It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. A work of fictionalised history, the book was published to critical acclaim earlier this year.

Wall, a former teacher from Cork, is nominated for This is the Country. It’s a bleak novel that looks at the fringes of the criminal world through the eyes of a troubled teenager.

It is Wall’s fourth novel, and is a work as tender as it is harsh.

If any of the three authors win the prize this autumn, it will be the first time an Irish writer has won the Booker since Roddy Doyle, for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha in 1993.

Other high-profile writers on this year’s long list are Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and South African Nobel Prize winner, JM Coetzee.

With several previous Booker winners like McEwan, Rushdie and Kazuo Ishiguro on the list, the Irish novelists will face a stiff challenge for the prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony in London on October 10.

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