Irish author shortlisted for Booker Prize

Acclaimed Irish author Claire Keegan was recently shortlisted for an impressive Booker Prize award.

Irish author Claire Keegan has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for her 2021 novel Small Things Like These.

The official shortlist was announced recently at a ceremony in London, with the winner set to be announced at the Roundhouse on 17 October.

Following in the footsteps of some of the greatest Irish authors, such as Anne Enright and Roddy Doyle, Keegan is one of six authors to make the shortlist for the prestigious literature prize this year.

Small Things Like These – a fantastic piece of fiction

Irish author shortlisted for Booker Prize.
Credit: Instagram / @bookish_lea

Keegan’s novel Small Things Like These tells the story of Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant in a small Irish town.

While gearing up for the busy Christmas season, he finds his past catching up with him as he encounters the complicit silence of a small community under the influence of the Catholic Church.

According to the judges, “It is the tale, simply told, of one ordinary middle-aged man”.

He “slowly grasps the enormity of the local convent’s heartless treatment of unmarried mothers and their babies (one instance of what will soon be exposed as the scandal of the Magdalene laundries)”.

Claire Keegan – an award-winning author

Foster by Claire Keegan.
Credit: Instagram / @lucy_holls

Claire Keegan from County Wicklow was raised on a farm in Ireland. At age 17, she travelled to New Orleans in the United States, where she studied English and Political Science at Loyola University.

She returned to Ireland in 1992 and wrote her first volume of highly acclaimed short stories titled Antarctica, published in 1999.

Her stories have since gone on to be received with much praise and have been translated into 30 languages, winning numerous awards. Meanwhile, her book Blue Fields won the Edge Hill Prize.

Her much-loved novel Foster, which inspired the highly acclaimed Irish language film An Cailín Ciúin, also won the Davy Byrnes Award in 2009.

Last year, her new novel Small Things Like These won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

It was also shortlisted for the 2022 Rathbones Folio. Now, adding to her accolades, the Irish author has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2022.

The Booker Prize – a prestigious literature award

Irish author among those shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Keegan is pitted against five other excellent authors for the honour of winning the prestigious Booker Prize award.

These include Treacle Water by Alan Garner, Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo, The Trees by Percival Everett, Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, and The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Sheahan Karunatilaka.

The six authors represent five different nationalities and four continents, with an even number of men and women amongst those shortlisted.

Most of the novels are inspired by real events. However, Keegan’s novel is distinguished from the rest as it has become the shortest book ever to be shortlisted for the prize in its long history.

There is plenty of hope and expectation that Claire Keegan will be successful when the winner is announced. However, it remains a great honour even for the Irish author to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

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