Anna Burn’s Booker prize-winning Milkman and Sam McBride’s Burned are among the books shortlisted for this year’s Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize, worth £7,500.
Other contenders include the hit TV show, Derry Girls. In all six works have been shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize, which aims to promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland, greater understanding between Britain and Ireland and closer co-operation between the partners of the European Community. The other entries are Michael Hughes’s novel Country; Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe about the death Jean McConville; and Forgetful Remembrance, by Israeli academic Guy Beiner about Protestants, memory, and the 1798 rebellion. The shortlist for a separate prize for a work dealing with the implications of Brexit consists of books by RTÉ journalist Tony Connelly; Irish economist and academic Kevin O’Rourke; and Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Tool; along with the Twitter account of Queen’s University academic Katy Hayward. Professor Roy Foster, one of the prize’s judges, said the shortlisted works for the main prize all involve re-examinations of the past: “There are two notably brilliant works of fiction, each giving a unique and unsettling perspective on inter-communal violence; a study of how history is processed in Ulster through ‘social memory’, and also ‘social forgetting’; a forensic and hypnotically readable study of the ‘disappearing’ of a victim of violence; an analysis of the scandal over ‘renewable energy’ in the region which casts new light on how government works in Northern Ireland; and an acclaimed television series giving a new voice and a fresh insight into the everyday realities of the Troubles as experienced by resilient and irreverent teenagers.”