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Booker Prize judges deny this year’s winner was influenced by last week’s riots in Dublin after Paul Lynch’s novel Prophet Song which describes police and protesterts clashing in Ireland is handed the award

Admin By Admin Nov26,2023


Booker Prize judges have denied last week’s Dublin riots strongly influenced their choice of this year’s winner – a novel telling of police and protesters clashing in Ireland.

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch, 46, was named winner after a full day of discussions on Saturday, with judges insisting current events were not a ‘central factor’ in their decision.

But chairman of judges Esi Edugyan admitted yesterday that while the recent Dublin mayhem was not ‘particularly front of mind’, it did feature in their discussions.

‘It wasn’t the central factor but I admit that this was something that did get raised,’ she said.

‘One cannot let world events dictate what one chooses as the best novel published that year.

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch, 46, was named winner after a full day of discussions on Saturday, with judges insisting current events were not a ‘central factor’ in their decision

Booker Prize judges have denied last week’s Dublin riots strongly influenced their choice of this year’s winner – a novel telling of police and protesters clashing in Ireland

Booker Prize judges have denied last week’s Dublin riots strongly influenced their choice of this year’s winner – a novel telling of police and protesters clashing in Ireland

Chairman of judges Esi Edugyan admitted yesterday that while the recent Dublin mayhem was not ‘particularly front of mind’, it did feature in their discussions

Chairman of judges Esi Edugyan admitted yesterday that while the recent Dublin mayhem was not ‘particularly front of mind’, it did feature in their discussions

‘But we did want to choose a title that reflected the things we are all grappling with right now. I think we felt that all of the novels did this in their own way, they really did reflect these issues that we’re all facing.’

Mr Lynch, the fifth Irish author to win the Booker Prize, beat Sarah Bernstein’s Study for Obedience, Paul Murray’s The Bee Sting, Paul Harding’s This Other Eden, Chetna Maroo’s Western Lane and Jonathan Escoffery’s If I Survive You.

Ms Edugyan said Mr Lynch was not a unanimous choice by judges Adjoa Andoh, Mary Jean Chan, James Shapiro and Robert Webb.

She added: ‘In these troubled times, we sought a novel with a guiding vision – a book to remind us that we are more than ourselves, to remind us of all that is worth saving.’ 

The Booker Foundation’s Gaby Wood said they weren’t expecting protests at last night’s ceremony at Old Billingsgate in London as the winner had been a close secret.

‘We’ve got strong security at the venue but if there are protests we will allow people to speak,’ she said.

Mr Lynch’s novel is set in a dystopian Ireland which has fallen into totalitarianism under the National Alliance party. Teacher and union leader Larry Stack is ‘disappeared’ by the secret police, leaving his wife to try and protect their family in the face of civil war.

A Prophet Song beat books such as The Bee Sting by Paul Murray, Western Lane by Chetna Maroo, This Other Eden by Paul Harding, If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery and Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein to claim the top prize. 

The winner was one of four Irish writers – Sebastian Barry, Elaine Feeney, Paul Lynch and Paul Murray – who made up the the 13-strong longlist for this year’s prestigious literary prize. 

Upon receiving the prize, Mr Lynch said: ‘It is with immense pleasure that I bring the Booker home to Ireland.’

Lynch was born in Limerick in 1977 and now lives in Dublin. His other novels are Beyond the Sea, Grace, The Black Snow and Red Sky in Morning. 

He is the fifth Irish author to win the prize, following in the footsteps of Iris Murdoch, John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright. 

Last night’s keynote speaker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe revealed that she read Margaret Atwood’s banned book The Handmaid’s Tale in jail in Iran after it arrived in the post to one of her fellow prisoners.

More authors nominated for the Booker Prize have the name Paul than there are women chosen for the award. Pictured L-R: Sarah Bernstein, Paul Murray, Chetna Maroo, Paul Lynch and Paul Harding

More authors nominated for the Booker Prize have the name Paul than there are women chosen for the award. Pictured L-R: Sarah Bernstein, Paul Murray, Chetna Maroo, Paul Lynch and Paul Harding

Ireland was left reeling after as many as 500 thugs responded to a horrifying knife attack on schoolchildren in Dublin on Thursday by launching an anti-migrant rampage

Ireland was left reeling after as many as 500 thugs responded to a horrifying knife attack on schoolchildren in Dublin on Thursday by launching an anti-migrant rampage

Shocking scenes saw police officers attacked, with around 50 sustaining injuries ¿ one of whom faces having a toe amputated ¿ while buses and a tram were torched

Shocking scenes saw police officers attacked, with around 50 sustaining injuries – one of whom faces having a toe amputated – while buses and a tram were torched

 The Booker Prize had also faced criticism back in September amid a row over the number of female authors on the shortlist.

Ireland was left reeling this weekend after as many as 500 thugs responded to a horrifying knife attack on schoolchildren in Dublin on Thursday by launching an anti-migrant rampage

Fuelled by online misinformation and unsubstantiated rumours that the person behind the attack – which saw three children and a woman injured – was a foreign national, the mobs gathered close to some of the city’s most iconic locations, some waving flags and brandishing signs reading ‘Irish Lives Matter’. 

Shocking scenes saw police officers attacked, with around 50 sustaining injuries – one of whom faces having a toe amputated – while buses and a tram were torched, with one driver punched and dragged from his cab. 

It has since been reported by the Irish Times that the attacker had lived in Ireland for some 20 years. 

Dublin’s ‘night of shame’ was condemned by Ireland’s Prime Minister this morning as a clean-up operation got underway following battles between rioters and police. 

Pictures from the Irish capital this morning showed council workers removing the wrecks of burned-out buses and cars, which were torched by the thugs as they rampaged through the streets and looted shops 



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