DEBUT author Donal Ryan has said he’s “overwhelmed” after being nominated for a second prestigious award, this time worth £10,000, writes Anne Sheridan.
After some 47 rejections before it was plucked out of the slush pile by an intern, ‘The Spinning Heart’ was recently long-listed for this year’s Booker Prize, and has now been long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award in the UK. It’s regarded as the most prestigious annual award for new writers in Britain, and the winner will be announced in November.
“It’s all really unexpected. I didn’t expect it to have the impact that it has had. It’s a bit overwhelming,” the father of two told the Limerick Leader.
The Tipperary-born writer, who now lives in Castletroy, completed the book two years ago, but was turned down nearly 50 times before it was taken on by Lilliput Press in Dublin and Double Day, which he described as a “publishing dream team”. It went on to win the novel of the year at last year’s Irish Book Awards.
The 37 year-old is among just three Irish writers on the 2013 Man Booker prize longlist, and his literary potential looks secure given his the pedigree of his bedmates - Colum McCann and Colm Tóibín. The shortlist for the Booker will be announced on September 10 and the winner of the €58,000 winner will be announced on October 15.
His next book, The Thing about December, which he wrote before The Spinning Heart, is due to be published in September or October depending on his success with the Booker shortlist. It’s set in the same village, albeit 10 years earlier, and focuses on a year in the life of a man who becomes a multi-millionaire during the boom.
An inspector with the National Employment Rights Authority based in Shannon, he fears he might “go a bit mad” if he was to give up the day-job and focus on writing full-time.