The six novels on the Booker Prize 2023 shortlist revealed September 21 include one book of genre interest, title shown in boldface.
- Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein
- If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
- This Other Eden by Paul Harding
- Prophet Song by Paul Lynch
- Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
- The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
In Prophet Song, a husband and father is arrested and imprisoned by repressive government forces as Ireland slides into totalitarianism.
Author Paul Lynch did not originally expect this to be his next book:
I had previously spent six months writing the wrong book, and knew it too, but kept hammering through rock in the hope of a breakthrough. Then one Friday, about 3pm, I stopped writing and thought, this is the wrong book – I will return on Monday morning and start a new one. I could sense there was something lurking just out of sight but I didn’t know what it might be.
On Monday morning, I created a new document – Janson font, 1.5” margins, 1.6 spacing, Mac Pages. (I like the page to look like a book.) I closed my eyes and the opening page of Prophet Song arrived pretty much as you read it now. Those sentences came out of the blind and I can honestly say it is one of the miracles of my writing life. How did I know there was another book there? I really don’t know. I didn’t even know the book I was yet to write, and yet so much of the meaning of the book is encoded in those opening sentences. How is that possible? Again, I don’t know. Writers learn to trust their intuition, and there it was, the opening notes of a song that would become the book.
Lynch’s awards include the 2022 Gens de Mer Prize, the 2020 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award and the 2018 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award.