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The 2023 Booker Prize winner discusses his breath-taking parable.

In his Booker Prize acceptance speech, Paul Lynch admitted his fifth novel, Prophet Song, had been difficult to write.

“The rational part of me believed I was dooming my career,” he said, “though I had to write the book anyway. We do not have a choice in such matters”. 

Set in Ireland’s near future, Prophet Song depicts a collapsing society in the grip of an increasingly tyrannical government. The Booker Prize judges described it as a novel “to remind us of all that is worth saving”. 

Sit down with Paul and host Michael Williams to discuss this timely and terrifying parable.

Paul Lynch – Presenter

Paul Lynch is the internationally acclaimed, prize-winning author of five novels: Beyond the Sea, Grace, The Black Snow, Red Sky in Morning and the 2023 Booker Prize Winner Prophet Song. His third novel, Grace, won the 2018 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and the 2020 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award and his second novel, The Black Snow, won France’s bookseller prize, Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel. He was born in Limerick in 1977, grew up in Donegal and lives in Dublin.

Michael Williams – Facilitator

Michael Williams is the editor of The Monthly. He was previously the Artistic Director of Sydney Writers’ Festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne as its founding Head of Programming in 2009 and then as its Director from September 2011. A regular host and interviewer for literary and ideas events around Australia – including a long-standing association with Sydney Writers’ Festival – his background is in publishing and broadcasting. He has hosted two shows on ABC Radio National – Blueprint for Living (2015-2016) and Talkfest (2017-2018) – was a regular on ABC TV’s The Book Club and remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing in Australia and New York and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere. He is currently also host of Guardian Australia’s monthly book club.