The prestigious British literary Booker Prize was awarded to Irish author Paul Lynch for his dystopian novel Prophet Song (Oneworld Publishing, London, 2023, 320 pages) during a ceremony yesterday Sunday in London.

Paul Lynch, born in 1977 in County Limerick, was nominated for the prize for the first time, with his fifth novel, a dark, claustrophobic account of a mother whose life is turned upside down in an Ireland plunged into tyranny.

“It was not easy to write this book. The more rational side of me thought I was putting my career as a writer in jeopardy — but I had to write it anyway, see it through,” said Paul Lynch immediately after his award, expressing his “enormous pleasure » because a writer from Ireland wins the Booker again (he is the fifth).

The Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious international literary awards. It is awarded to authors who write in the English language and has contributed to the success of literary figures such as Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Arudhati Roy…

All of this year’s finalists — two Americans, one Canadian, two Irish, one Kenyan — advanced to the final round for the first time.

The winner receives a cash prize of £50,000 (around €57,000) and, importantly, is now almost guaranteed international success.

Paul Lynch partially wrote the novel, text without paragraphs, during the lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The author, who lives in Dublin, had already attracted attention with two of his four previous novels (Beyond the Sea and Grace).

The works competing this year caused “horror”, “pleasure”, “joy” and “comfort” among the members of the jury, commented its president, Canadian author Essie Edujian.

The competing novels “offer the full range of human experience” and take the reader not only “beyond reality, but also beyond the language of everyday life,” he added.

A total of 158 books printed in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2022 and 30 September 2023 were submitted to the Booker Prize awarding body and 13 were selected in the first round.

Last year, the award went to 47-year-old Sri Lankan author Sehan Karunatilaka for his novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, a macabre satire set against the civil war that has raged in his country for decades. It was only his second novel.