Irish writer Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize

Irish writer Paul Lynch won the Booker Prize for fiction on Nov. 26 with what judges called a "soul-shattering" novel about a woman's struggle to protect her family as Ireland collapses into totalitarianism and war.

"Prophet Song," set in a dystopian fictional version of Dublin, was awarded the 50,000-pound ($63,000) literary prize at a ceremony in London. Canadian writer Esi Edugyan, who chaired the judging panel, said the book is "a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave" in which Lynch "pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness."

Lynch, 46, had been the bookies' favorite to win the prestigious prize, which usually brings a big boost in sales. His book beat five other finalists from Ireland, the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, chosen from 163 novels submitted by publishers.

"This was not an easy book to write," Lynch said after being handed the Booker trophy. "The rational part of me believed I was dooming my career by writing this novel, though I had to write the book anyway. We do not have a choice in such matters."

Lynch has called "Prophet Song," his fifth novel, an attempt at "radical empathy" that tries to plunge readers into the experience of living in a collapsing society.

"I was trying to see into the modern chaos," he told the Booker website. "The unrest in Western democracies. The problem of Syria - the implosion of an entire nation, the scale of its refugee crisis and the West's indifference. 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."

The five prize judges met to pick the winner on Saturday, less than 48 hours after far-right violence erupted in Dublin following a stabbing...

Continue reading on: