FOUR Irish authors have made the longlist for this year’s Booker Prize, marking a new record in the prestigious award’s history.
The number means that Irish writers make up more than a third of the longlist.
The books are: Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry; How To Build A Boat by Elaine Feeney; Prophet Song by Paul Lynch, and The Bee Sting by Paul Murray received the nod for the coveted award, alongside nine other titles.
The announcement marks another major coup for Ireland, which has produced the most nominees – relative to population size – in the prizes history.
In total, 37 Irish authors have now been longlisted for the leading fiction award.
Anna Burns was Ireland’s last winner, when she scooped the 2018 Booker prize for Milkman.
Sebastian Barry, one of this year’s four Irish nominees, joins an elite list of 10 writers who have received nominations for the award at least five times.
The Dublin novelist’s latest book tells the story of a retired police detective who gets dragged back into a cold case investigation of a murdered priest who is suspected of abusing children.
Fellow Irish nominee Feeney’s novel focuses on a teen boy trying to make sense of the world, while Murray’s book is described as a tragi-comic family saga. Lynch’s latest work is set in a dystopian world, telling the story of a family’s struggles as Ireland slips into totalitarianism.
Nominees will be pared down to six finalists next month, before the winner of the £50,000 prize is announced at a ceremony in London on November 26.
Previous Irish-born winners of the Booker Prize (or the Man Booker as it was known from 2002 until 2019) include Iris Murdoch, John Banville, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright and Anna Burns.
Dublin-born Iris Murdoch was nominated six times for the award, and won once; William Trevor was nominated four times but never won. Colm Tóibín has appeared on the shortlist three times but so far has failed to take the top prize.
The judges this year
Novelist Esi Edugyan, twice-shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is the chair of the 2023 judging panel and is joined by actor, writer and director Adjoa Andoh; poet, lecturer, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan; Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Shakespeare specialist James Shapiro; and actor and writer Robert Webb.
The complete longlist
The House of Doors — Tan Tawn ENg
The Bee Sting — Paul Murray
Western Lane — Chetna Maroo
In Ascension — Martin McInnes
Prophet Song — Paul Lynch
All the Little Bird-Hearts
Pearl — Sian Hughes
This Other Eden — Paul Harding
How to Build a Boat — Elaine Feeney
If I Survive You — Jonathan Escoffery
Study for Obedience — Sarah Bernstein
Old God’s Time — Sebastian Barry
A Spell of Good Things — Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀