Friday 15 December 2017

Edna O'Brien to publish her first novel in 10 years aged 84

Enda O'Brien
Enda O'Brien

Kirsty Blake Knox and John Spain

Acclaimed author Edna O'Brien (84) will release her first novel in 10 years next February.

And it sounds like her latest work will be just as provocative and compulsive as her previous books.

Titled The Little Red Chairs, the book will tell the story of a wanted war criminal who settles in a small Irish village.

While ensconced there he meets heroine Fidelma McBride who falls under his spell.

O'Brien charts the couple's fatal attraction. The rights for the book have been acquired by Faber & Faber. Lee Brackstone, creative director of the publishing house, believes the book will become O'Brien's greatest masterpiece.

"Edna has gone deep into the darkness for this book," Brackstone said.

"She returns with a book of monumental emotional intelligence and courage. The novel burns with a fierce lyricism ... It may be her masterpiece."

O'Brien was born in Tuamgraney, Co Clare - a town with no library and 27 pubs.

She moved to London in her early twenties and penned her debut novel The Country Girls within a three-week period in 1960.

Since then O'Brien has written more than 20 novels and biographies of James Joyce and Lord Byron.

There was more good news for Ireland literary scene yesterday as Donal Ryan was awarded the EU Prize for Literature 2015 for his novel The Spinning Heart.

Mr Ryan is among 11 other writers from across Europe to be awarded one of the annual EU prizes worth €5,000 each.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Mr Ryan said. "It's a lovely honour."

Meanwhile, Colum McCann made the shortlist for this year's International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Worth €100,000, the IMPAC is the world's most valuable annual literary award for a single work of fiction published in English.

McCann is a previous winner, having won the prize in 2011 for his novel Let the Great World Spin.

This year he has been shortlisted for his last novel TransAtlantic.

The winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award will be announced by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, on June 17.

Irish Independent

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