Yesterday was a very good day for Irish writers, as not one but three of them made the prestigious Man Booker Prize longlist with Colm Tóibín, Colum McCann and Donal Ryan all in the running for the €58,000 prize for fiction.
Chair of the judging panel Robert McFarlane described this year’s roundup as the ‘most diverse longlist in Man Booker history’, with 13 novels selected from a gargantuan list of 151 titles- eight of which were written by women, while three of them are first-time novelists. Of the first-time authors listed are Tipperary man Donal Ryan, who debuted with The Spinning heart, published by Lilliput Press and Doubleday Ireland in October, 2012. Speaking to Publishing Ireland, Ryan told us of his surprise at the announcement:
‘I’m literally speechless. I’m thrilled, and am so grateful to The Lilliput Press for everything they’ve done. I feel very honoured to share a longlist with great writers like Colum McCann and Colm Tóibín.’
Lilliput Press, who co-published The Spinning Heart with Doubleday Ireland are delighted at the news and released a statement quoting proud publisher Anthony Farrell, who said that he was ‘so proud of Donal and [his] team’ and that he was ‘thrilled to bits’.
Ryan has also been championed by noted writers such as Jennifer Johnston and John Boyne and is in very good company on the list with acclaimed writers Colm Tóibín (who has been shortlisted three times for the prize) and his novel The Testament of Mary, the stage production of which was nominated for three Tony awards earlier this year and previous IMPAC winner Colum McCann, whose book, TransAtlantic takes on the theme of pioneering aviators Alcock and Brown in a story that spans over 150 years.
The selection comes as a welcome surprise, given that there were no Irish authors selected for last year’s list and provides a particular boost for the relatively small independent publisher Lilliput Press.
* Read Publishing Ireland’s interview with Donal Ryan here: http://www.publishingireland.com/2013/04/02/pi-interview-donal-ryan/