Monday 19 March 2018

Irish author scoops top award for novel about recession

Donal Ryan has won the Guardian first book award
Donal Ryan has won the Guardian first book award
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

ACCLAIMED Irish author Donal Ryan has won another prestigious literary award for his angry portrayal of the economic crisis and life in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.

The Tipperary-born writer scooped the 2013 Guardian First Book Award for 'The Spinning Heart' -- already named as the Irish Book of the Year 2012 as well as longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and topping the bestseller lists.

Speaking during the ceremony at Tate Modern in London, the writer said he found it difficult to believe that he had won and dedicated the award to all writers "working at their beginnings".


"Of the many obstacles that stand in the way of a first book as it makes its precarious way into the world and into its readers' hands," he explained, "fear is often the biggest and the most difficult to surmount. Fear of not being good enough, of not being able to say what we mean".

Ryan wrote the first draft of the novel in the summer of 2010, amid the widespread fear and bitterness of the property crash.

The book is based on the narratives of 21 victims of the economic collapse, struggling to make ends meet in a village near Limerick.

The chair of the judging panel, 'Guardian Review' editor Lisa Allardice, paid tribute to the "raw talent, promise and originality" exhibited by all the shortlisted writers, but said 'The Spinning Heart' stood out for its "startling audacity".

"It may be slim in size, but it is hugely ambitious in structure and devastating in its emotional impact," she said.

Irish Independent

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