Our two greatest writers are in the news again! Eimear McBride has won the Baileys Women's Prize for fiction with her novel, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. The Baileys used to be the Orange Prize and represents a major award for her following on her achievement in winning the Goldsmith Prize. She is also short listed for the 2014 Folio Prize. Her book is probably the most exciting piece of writing in Irish literature since Joyce and you can read my review published on 14 November 2013. Eimear is currently working on her second novel.
The second major Irish writer to make the news is John Banville who has won the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in Spain. This is an award given for a body of work rather than a particular novel and in this case, the judges cited not only his work as the novelist John Banville but also his alter ego, Benjamin Black. According to the judges, 'Banville's prose opens up dazzling, lyrical landscapes through cultural references in which he breathes new life into classical myths and beauty...'
Shortly, now, we will have the results of the Impac Award jury! There is a shortlist of ten including The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan and Absolution by Patrick Flanery, all impressive works. The money, however, appears to be on Traveller of the Century by Andres Neuman. Neuman is a South American writer from Buenos Aires; his novel is translated from Spanish and is about philosophy, love, war and history going back into post-Napoleonic Europe. Judging by the blurb, there seems to be hints of Borges there or Claudel. I shall get back to you about this one! Award to be announced on 12 June.