McCann, Tóibín, Ryan are Irish authors on Booker longlist

Thirteen books in the running for prestigious literary prize

McCann’s Transatlantic, Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary and Ryan’s The Spinning Heart are all on the longlist for prestigious fiction award.

McCann’s Transatlantic, Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary and Ryan’s The Spinning Heart are all on the longlist for prestigious fiction award.

Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 12:32

Three Irish authors have been nominated in the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize, it was announced today.

Colum McCann , Colm Tóibín and Donal Ryan have all written fiction on the list of 13 which make up the “most diverse longlist” in Booker history, according to the judges.

McCann’s Transatlantic, Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary and Ryan’s The Spinning Heart are all on the longlist for prestigious fiction award.

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Enniscorthy native Tóibín has twice been shortlisted for the prize, in 1999 with The Blackwater Lightship and in 2004 with The Master. The Testament of Mary is a novella examining the grief of Christ’s mother. A stage production of the work was nominated for three Tony awards earlier this year.

McCann’s novel was partly inspired by Alcock and Brown’s pioneering transatlantic flight. He lives in New York but was born in Ireland in 1965. He previously won the National Book Award and the Dublin Impac Prize

The Spinning Heart is a debut novel for Tipperary born Donal Ryan. The book is set in a small Irish town in the aftermath of the recession.

Among the other nominees is a 900-page literary thriller, The Kills by Richard House, that was first published digitally in four parts, with the first given away in exchange for a mention on Twitter.

Over half (seven) of the 13 authors selected from 151 books are female and three are debut authors. The oldest author on the list Jim Crace (67) was previously nominated in 1997 for Quarantine. The youngest nominee is New Zealander Eleanor Catton (27).

The panel of five judges is chaired by academic and writer Robert Macfarlane. “This is surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history: wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject,” Mr Macfarlane said.

The novels range from “ traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000 and from Shanghai to Hendon,” he said.

The shortlist of books for the prize will be announced on September 10th and the winner will be announced on October 15th. The winner will receive a £50,000 (€58,000) prize.

Ryan’s publisher Transworld Book (Doubleday) tweeted that it was “thrilled” that his “stunning debut” had been longlisted. McCann’s publisher Bloombury tweeted “Congratulations to Colum McCann”. Author Eleanor Catton tweeted: Thank you everyone! I am over the moon. Opened a good Pinot noir tonight!”

Bookmaker William Hill made Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries the 6/1 favourite followed by Crace and Toibin at 7/1. The Kills at the 20/1 is the outsider to win the prize.

Hilary Mantel made history last year when she won the prize for the second time for her book Bring up the Bodies.

Last year no Irish authors made the booker longlist. In 2011 Sebastian Barry made the longlist for On Canaan’s Side. In 2010, Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies was longlisted and Emma Donoghue was shortlisted for Room. The last Irish winner was Anne Enright for The Gathering in 2007. Other Irish Booker prize winners include John Banville for The Sea (2005) and Roddy Doyle for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha .

2013 Man Booker Prize longlist:

Tash Aw - Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate)

NoViolet Bulawayo - We Need New Names (Chatto & Windus)

Eleanor Catton -The Luminaries (Granta)

Jim Crace - Harvest (Picador)

Eve Harris - The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press)

Richard House - The Kills (Picador)

Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland (Bloomsbury)

Alison MacLeod - Unexploded ( Hamish Hamilton)

Colum McCann - TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury)

Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English (Mantle)

Ruth Ozeki - A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)

Donal Ryan- The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland)

Colm Tóibín - The Testament of Mary (Viking)

Additional reporting Reuters/PA