Paul Lynch

76 images Created 30 Nov 2023

Paul Lynch, photographed in London the day after his novel "Pophet Song" won the 2023 Booker Prize . Paul Lynch is an Irish novelist known for his poetic, lyrical style and exploration of complex themes. He has published five novels and has won several awards, including the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. His debut novel, Red Sky in Morning, was the subject of a six-publisher auction in London, and won him acclaim in the United States and France, where the book was a finalist for France's Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Award). The novel was inspired by a TV documentary about the excavation of Duffy's Cut, a site near Philadelphia where, in the 1830s, Irish emigrants, mainly from Ulster, were discovered in an unmarked mass grave. It explores themes of emigration, racism and brutality and was described by NPR's Alan Cheuse as the work of a "lapidary young master".

Lynch's second novel, The Black Snow, describes the return of an Irish emigrant to his native community in County Donegal and the subsequent descent into tragedy when a byre catches fire. The novel was shortlisted for many prizes and won France's Prix Libr'à Nous for best foreign novel. In Sunday Times Ireland, Theo Dorgan called the book “a significant achievement”.

His third novel, Grace (2017), is both a bildungsroman and picaresque set during the Irish Famine and tells the story of a young girl's struggle for survival. The novel won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year prize and was shortlisted for many awards, including The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. In a review, The New York Times said: "Lynch is a sure-footed tightrope walker...his lush, poetic prose [in Grace] deliberately and painfully acts as a foil to the reality of the famine.”

Lynch's fourth novel, Beyond the Sea (2019), was inspired by a true event and is an existential tale involving two castaways set on a boat in the Pacific Ocean. The novel has been compared to the work of Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville, William Golding, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Pablo Neruda by various reviewers, and won France's Prix Gens de Mers in 2022.
Lynch's fifth novel, Prophet Song, has been described as "a chilling study of Ireland becoming a fascist state". According to the New York Times, the novel received mixed reviews in Ireland and Britain upon its initial publication..

Prophet Song was described by The Guardian as "an impressive novel in stylistic as well as political terms" and it did go on to receive the acclaimed Booker Prize for 2023.
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