Irish author shortlisted for £30,000 Wellcome Book Prize

Sally Rooney and Anna Burns on £30,000 Rathbones Folio Prize longlist; Six-figure US deal for Catherine Ryan Howard

Arnold Thomas Fanning: “gives extraordinary insight into what it feels like to be in the grips of delusion”

Arnold Thomas Fanning: “gives extraordinary insight into what it feels like to be in the grips of delusion”

 

Dublin debut author and playwright Arnold Thomas Fanning has been shortlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize celebrating the 10th anniversary of the prestigious award. Known for his stage plays such as McKenna’s Fort, Fanning has been recognised for his memoir Mind on Fire in which he gives a startlingly honest account of living with and recovering from psychosis.

Judge Rick Edwards said of Mind on Fire: “Arnold Thomas Fanning is a successful playwright now but in his 20s he suffered with severe bouts of mania and depression. In this unflinching present-tense memoir he recounts in vivid, and often harrowing, detail his descent into madness, hospitalisation and homelessness during a biting London winter. Masterfully written, it gives extraordinary insight into what it feels like to be in the grips of delusion.”

Chosen by award-winning author Elif Shafak and her fellow judges, the six titles on the shortlist for the £30,000 prize range from memoir to comic novel in an exploration of gender, identity and mental health. The others are Amateur: A reckoning with gender, identity and masculinity by Thomas Page McBee (US); Heart: A history by Sandeep Jauhar (India/US); Murmur by Will Eaves (UK); My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (US) and The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster by Sarah Krasnostein (Australia/US).

The winner will be revealed at an evening ceremony on May 1st at Wellcome Collection in London. Launched in 2009, the prize celebrates the best new books that engage with medicine, health or illness. If Fanning wins, he will be third Irish author in four years to do so. Mark O’Connell won last year for To Be a Machine and Suzanne O’Sullivan in 2016 for It’s All in Your Head.

Rooney and Burns on Rathbones Folio Prize longlist
Normal People by Sally Rooney and Milkman by Anna Burns have been longlisted for this year’s Rathbones Folio Prize with 18 other writers competing for the £30,000 prize.

Milkman has already won Burns the Man Booker Prize, while Rooney won the Costa Novel Prize for Normal People. Only last week, Milkman was awarded the National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction in the US.

Novels dominate the 2019 longlist – also included are House of Stone Novuyo by Rosa Tshuma, Land of The Living by Georgina Harding, Little by Edward Carey, Mary Ann Sate by Alice Jolly, Murmur by Will Eaves, Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif and There, There by Tommy Orange.

Short story collection Mothers by Chris Power, novella West by Carys Davies and poetry The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus, Us by Zaffar Kunial and Francis: A Life In Songs by Ann Wroe also made the longlist, judged by poet Kate Clanchy and novelists Chloe Aridjis and Owen Sheers.

Nonfiction titles on the longlist are Can You Tolerate This by Ashleigh Young, Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert, I Am Dynamite! Friedrich Nietzsche by Sue Prideaux, The Crossway by Guy Stagg and The Library of Ice by Nancy Campbell.

Open to English-language writers from around the world, the Rathbones Folio Prize rewards the best work of literature published in the UK. The shortlist of eight will be announced on April 4th, and the winner will receive £30,000 at the award ceremony on May 20th.

Six-figure US deal for Catherine Ryan Howard
Haila Williams of Blackstone Publishing has bought North American rights to six more titles by Cork author Catherine Ryan Howard in a major six-figure deal by Jane Gregory for David Higham Associates.

Catherine’s debut thriller, Distress Signals (2016) was shortlisted for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year and the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey/New Blood Dagger, and optioned for TV by Jet Stone Media in London. Her second novel, The Liar’s Girl (2018), which Catherine wrote while studying as a mature student in Trinity College Dublin, is a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel, previously won by Ian Rankin and Stephen King. Her third novel, Rewind, is set in east Cork and will be published in September by Blackstone in North America and Corvus/Atlantic Books in the UK and Ireland, followed by a fourth in 2020. Catherine began her writing career in 2010 by self-publishing Mousetrapped, a humorous account of her time working in Walt Disney World, Florida.

This deal will see Catherine publish 10 novels with Blackstone. She said: “I am absolutely delighted to know that my novels have a home at Blackstone for the foreseeable future. The team there are a joy to work with and offer the kind of support authors dream of. I think we make a great partnership and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

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