Irish author Kevin Barry wins £10,000 Goldsmiths Prize

‘Beatlebone’ about John Lennon taking magical mystery tour to island off Irish coast

A book by Irish author Kevin Barry about former Beatle John Lennon taking a tour around the west coast of Ireland has won a prestigious literary award.

Barry’s book Beatlebone claimed the Goldsmiths Prize which is worth £10,000.

The book, set in 1978, sees Lennon taking a “magical mystery tour to an island off the west coast of Ireland”.

Centred around the true fact that Lennon bought Dorinish, an uninhabited island off the Irish coast in 1967 for £1,700, the book imagines him going there to undertake a course of primal scream therapy.

The synopsis goes on to say that “events conspire against the former Beatle, leading to an exploration of the strange and wonderful, time and place, with the struggle for art at its very heart”.

Barry’s previous works include his novel, City Of Bohane, and two short stories, Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms.

He won the Rooney Prize in 2007 and in 2012 won The Sunday Times EFG Short Story prize.

The six-strong shortlist was judged by a panel of experts including author and the first-ever Goldsmiths prize winner Eimear McBride, Even The Dogs author Jon McGregor and chairman of judges Josh Cohen, who is Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths.

Prof Cohen said: "Intricately weaving and blurring fiction and life, Beatlebone embodies beautifully this prize's spirit of creative risk. We're proud to crown it our winner."

The literary prize was launched in 2013 by Goldsmiths, which is part of the University of London, and in association with the New Statesman.

It aims to reward fiction that “breaks the mould” or “extends the possibilities of the novel form”.