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Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize 2023, becomes 5th Irish author to get it

London, Nov 27, 2023- ‘Prophet Song’ by the celebrated Irish novelist Paul Lynch has been named the winner of the Booker Prize 2023, according to an official announcement by the organisers of the prestigious literary award.

The author received 50,000 pounds and was presented with his trophy by Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka, the 2022 winner, at a ceremony held at Old Billingsgate, London, on Sunday, November 26.

Nairobi-born accountant-turned-debutant novelist Chetna Maroo, who is of Indian origin and a resident of London, was one of the six writers shortlisted for the prize, which, since 1969, has been awarded to the top writers of our times. Six of the awardees have been writers of Indian descent.

The glitterting award event on Sunday was hosted by British journalist and writer Samira Ahmed and broadcast live as a special episode of BBC Radio 4 Front Row.

It was also livestreamed in an hour-long YouTube presentation, hosted by Jack Edwards and featuring interviews with notable guests, the official announcement said.

The ceremony included a keynote speech delivered by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was released from prison in Tehran last year. She described the ways in which books had saved her when she was in solitary confinement.

The chairperson of the jury, Esi Edugyan, who was once a nominee, described the winning book as “soul-shattering and true”, adding that readers “will not soon forget its warnings”.

‘Prophet Song’ was the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Booker Prize, according to the information provided on the official website.

Heralded in one review as “a crucial book for our current times”, ‘Prophet Song’ captures some of the biggest social and political anxieties of our age, from the rise of political extremism to the global plight of refugees.

Speaking about the book, Paul Lynch observed: “Prophet Song is partly an attempt at radical empathy. I wanted to deepen the reader’s immersion to such a degree that by the end of the book, they would not just know, but feel this problem for themselves.”

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.

‘Prophet Song’ is published in the UK by Oneworld. The independent publisher previously won the prize two years running in 2015 and 2016, with Marlon James’s ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ and Paul Beatty’s ’The Sellout’, according to the official website. (Agency)

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