Debut novelist longlisted for second prestigious book award
IRISH author Donal Ryan's debut novel 'The Spinning Heart', which has already been longlisted for this year's Booker Prize, has now been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in the UK.
The award, worth £10,000, is the most prestigious annual award for new writers in Britain.
The Booker winner will be announced in October and the Guardian winner in November. Tipperary-born writer Ryan's novel, completed two years ago, was turned down by 47 publishers before it was taken on by Lilliput Press in Dublin.
It was plucked out of the slush pile by an intern working at Lilliput and went on to win the novel of the year award at last year's Irish Book Awards.
It was one of 13 books longlisted last month for this year's Booker Prize, along with novels by two other Irish writers, Colum McCann and Colm Toibin. This weekend it was one of 11 books shortlisted for the Guardian Award and is considered to be one of the favourites to win. Ryan, a father of two and civil servant who works in Limerick, said that he is very pleased the book has connected with so many people.
The novel is a scarifying and hilarious account of the fallout from Ireland's financial collapse in one small Irish town as the consequences of greed affect the entire community.
"There's not much plot but people seem to like the characters and find them believable. It's a very local story but you could say it's universal because this economic crisis and all the austerity that came from it is damaging people in small towns, not just in Ireland but across Europe as well," Ryan said.