Paul Lynch, Writer-in-Residence at Maynooth University, is awarded the Booker Prize for Prophet Song
Maynooth University has congratulated Paul Lynch on his exceptional achievement in winning the Booker Prize for his fifth novel, Prophet Song. Lynch is the Arts Council Writer-in-Residence at the university, which offers an MA in Creative Writing taught by award-winning, internationally renowned writers.
Exploring extremism in an alternate or near-future Ireland, Prophet Song emerged during Lynch’s tenure as the 2019 Kildare County Council Writer-in-Residence at Maynooth.
In his role at the University, Lynch teaches a module on creativity and novel-writing, enriching the masters programme which is now in its second year. The Arts Council residency provides crucial support, offering office space and resources to assist him in his creative endeavours.
Dean of Arts, Celtic Studies and Philosophy, Professor Alison Hood said: “Paul’s impact through his literary contributions and teaching embodies creativity and academic excellence within our community. Congratulations, Paul, on this well-deserved recognition.”
Many imprints at the major publishing houses are more risk averse and this is why Oneworld, along with Fitzcarraldo, and other exciting indie houses, continue to garner acclaim and prizes
Prophet Song is published in the UK by Oneworld. The independent publisher previously won the prize two years running in 2015 and 2016, with A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, and The Sellout by Paul Beatty. Asked about being published by Oneworld, Lynch said that Annie Dillard once wrote that good writers are like tennis players playing to the edges of the court.
“‘That’s where the exhilaration is,’ she said. ‘He hits up the line. He pushes the edges.’ Juliet Mabey of Oneworld continues to publish authors who play to the edges, whether or not they deliver commercially. Many imprints at the major publishing houses are more risk averse and this is why Oneworld, along with Fitzcarraldo, and other exciting indie houses, continue to garner acclaim and prizes.”
I received two Arts Council bursaries during the four years it took to write this book
Lynch is the fifth Irish author to win the Booker Prize, after Iris Murdoch, John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. The Northern Irish writer Anna Burns won in 2018. Lynch was one of four Irish writers to make this year’s longlist. Speaking about the wealth of exciting fiction coming out of Ireland just now, he said that none of this would be possible without the support of the Irish state. “I received two Arts Council bursaries during the four years it took to write this book.”
Sentences should press into the unknown moment
In his acceptance speech at a ceremony in London yesterday evening, Lynch said that it had not been an easy book to write. “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.”
“My writing has saved me. I believe that literary style should be a way of knowing how the world has met its unfolding. Sentences should press into the unknown moment, into the most obscure hidden aspects of life, that which is barely known but asking to be revealed.”