IF he won he said “there’d be eatin’ and drinkin’ in it”, and there certainly is now for Limerick born author Kevin Barry who has scooped the €100,000 Impac award, one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes.
However, the gee gees could prove to be the next lucrative move for the Ballincurra Gardens native, as he’s working on a film script about the racing industry, focusing on the relationship between an Irish jockey, and his horse trainer father. The Gee Gees has been written for Element Pictures, which was behind such award-winning Irish films as The Guard, Omagh, Garage and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The world of horse-racing presents its own challenges for Barry, who’s getting to grips with the particular dialogue of that field and getting it “absolutely right”.
“I’m back to my [writing] desk now, and that will certainly put manners on you quick enough. It’s brilliant, I’m in great form, and now it’s a matter of getting the next thing right,” he told the Limerick Chronicle, after the elation of being presented with the award in Dublin at the weekend.
For the Impac, City of Bohane, his first novel, after numerous collections of short stories, beat off competition from 153 other titles, nominated by 160 libraries from 44 countries.
“There was many brilliant writers on the shortlist so it was amazing and a thrill to win it. The book has been out for two years and was motoring along nicely but even since the weekend, this has given it that extra push. It’s great because as a writer you never know what kind of year you’re going to have.” Barry was the only Irish author on this year’s shortlist, and is the third Irish writer to win the Impac, after Colum McCann and Colm Tóibín. He is working on two film scripts of City of Bohane for the Irish company Parallel Films. “It’s a slow process, but I really enjoy writing the scripts, because it’s so different to writing the books and I love writing dialogue.”
He is also working on a new novel, but is determined to keep its contents “very quiet until it’s all down”.