Two books about the Troubles in Northern Ireland have won this year’s prestigious Orwell prize. Anna Burns’ novel Milkman won the inaugural prize for political fiction, while the prize for political writing was awarded to Patrick Radden Keefe for his book Say Nothing.
Ms Burns, who grew up in Belfast’s Ardoyne area, was also the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the Man Booker prize last year for her third novel, a coming-of-age story about a young girl’s affair with a married man. Tom Sutcliffe, the chair of judges for the prize and BBC Radio 4 presenter, described the book’s tone of voice as “a marvel”. Say Nothing, by the New Yorker magazine staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, examines the death of mother-of-ten Jean McConville at hands of the IRA in 1972. The widowed mother was abducted from her Belfast home after she was suspected of being an informer.