ebut novelist Dónal Ryan has been nominated, alongside fellow Irishmen Colm Tóibín and Colum McCann, for the prestigious Man Booker prize - in all thirteen novelists have been named on the longlist with the winner scheduled to be announced on October 15th.
Ryan, a father of two, grew up in north Tipperary, but now lives in Limerick and works for as a civil servant. Dónal Ryan is a former student of Nenagh CBS and graduated with honours from the University of Limerick where he studied law.
Ryan’s novel, entitled The Spinning Heart, tells the story of twenty-one Irish villagers during the recession - each inter-linked chapter exposes the inner life of a different character. Ryan’s outstanding piece of work has been compared to J M Synge and Patrick McCabe and also praised by notable authors like John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) while Ryan’s writing style has been described as darkly comic.
The Spinning Heart was written during the summer of 2010 and, as revealed in an interview with the Irish Independent, was rejected forty-seven times by an assortment of publishers before Doubleday Ireland optioned the novel.
Colm Tóibín has been nominated for The Testament of Mary, which tells the story of Jesus from his mother Mary’s point of view, while Colum McCann has been nominated for TransAtlantic, a multi-faceted story built around real events.
The bookies’ favourite, even at this early stage, for the Man Booker prize is British novelist Jim Crace (67) - Crace’s book Harvest is an historical novel set in rural England.
Just two other first-time novelists join Dónal Ryan on the Man Booker longlist. NoViolet Bulawayo, born in Zimbabwe, has been nominated for We Need New Names while Eve Harris is nominated for her yet-to-be-released book The Marrying of Chani Kaufman.
Dónal Ryan’s second novel, The Thing About December, will be published in the autumn.
What is the Man Book longlist?
The Man Booker award for fiction is a literary prize presented each year for the best original full-length novel. The winner of the award is generally assured to enjoy international success. The 2012 winner was Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.
Dónal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart has been named on this year’s longlist. The judges will meet again in September to name a shortlist with the stg£50,000 winner likely to be named on October 15th.
Thirteen novels in all feature on this year’s longlist. Alongside Dónal Ryan those who also feature on the longlist include Tash Aw, Jim Crace, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colum McCann, Charlotte Mendelson, Colm Tóibín, Eleanor Catton and Eve Harris.
Colm Tóibín has previously appeared on the Man Booker shortlist with the Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Master (2004).