Saturday June 15, 2024

Booker Prize 2023: Who is 'Prophet Song' writer Paul Lynch?

Before Paul Lynch; Yann Martel, Salman Rushdie, and Margaret Atwood were Booker Prize winners

By Web Desk
November 28, 2023
Paul Lynchs debut novel was Red Sky in Morning. — AFP/File
Paul Lynch's debut novel was "Red Sky in Morning". — AFP/File

Paul Lynch, an Irish author was awarded the 2023 Booker Prize on Sunday for his book "Prophet Song," which tells the tale of a family and a nation on the verge of disaster as a hypothetical Irish government veers towards dictatorship.

This, Lynch's sixth book, aims to depict the turmoil within Western democracies and their callous disregard for tragedies like Syria's collapse.

“From that first knock at the door, ‘Prophet Song’ forces us out of our complacency as we follow the terrifying plight of a woman seeking to protect her family in an Ireland descending into totalitarianism,” Esi Edugyan, chair of the Booker’s 2023 judges, said.

“This is a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave.”

Lynch, who served as the Sunday Tribune newspaper's leading cinema critic in Ireland before, claimed that by emphasising the dystopia in his work, he helped people comprehend dictatorship.

"I wanted to deepen the reader's immersion to such a degree that by the end of the book, they would not just know, but feel this problem for themselves," Lynch said in comments published on the Booker Prize website.

According to the competition's organisers, he became the sixth Irish novelist to win the Booker Prize, following Iris Murdoch, John Banville, Roddy Doyle, and Anne Enright. 2018 saw the victory of Northern Irish author Anna Burns.

The Booker Prize was first given out in 1969, and previous winners include Yann Martel, Salman Rushdie, and Margaret Atwood.

“Prophet Song” was published in the UK by Oneworld which also won the prize in 2015 and 2016 with Marlon James’s “A Brief History of Seven Killings” and Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout.”