Society & Culture

Writer Paul Lynch Wins Booker Prize 2023

Agencies – Sudan Events

Irish writer Paul Lynch won the 2023 Booker Prize on Sunday for his novel Prophet Song, the story of a family and a country on the brink of catastrophe as an imaginary Irish government veers towards tyranny.
Lynch, 46, was presented with his trophy by last year’s winner Shehan Karunatilaka, at a ceremony held in London.
The writer, who lives in Dublin, is the fifth Irish author to win the award, worth £50,000 ($63,000) after Dame Iris Murdoch, John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright.
The event on Sunday had a keynote speech delivered by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was released from a prison in Iran last year.
Canadian writer Esi Edugyan, chairwoman the judging panel, said the book was “a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave” in which Lynch “pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness”.
Ms Edugyan said Lynch’s book “captures the social and political anxieties of our current moment” but also deals with “timeless” themes.
The novel, Lynch’s fifth, seeks to show the unrest in western democracies and their indifference towards disasters such as the implosion of Syria.
“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,” Ms Edugyan said.
Lynch, who was previously the chief film critic of Ireland’s Sunday Tribune newspaper, said he wanted readers to understand totalitarianism by heightening the dystopia with the intense realism of his writing.
“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,” he said.
Past winners of the Booker, was first awarded in 1969, include Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Yann Martel.
The island of Ireland has had one more Booker win, Northern Irish writer Anna Burns in 2018.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe spoke about reading during her imprisonment in Iran.
“Books helped me to take refuge into the world of others when I was incapable of making one of my own,” she said.
“They salvaged me by being one of the very few tools I had, together with imagination, to escape the Evin [prison] walls without physically moving.”
“One day a cellmate received a book through the post. It was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, translated into Farsi.
“Who thought a book banned in Iran could find its way to prison through the post? We hid the cover in newspapers to hide it from the camera.”
She said inmates wanted to read the book, as did a guard.

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