Barry shortlisted for Booker award
PROUD AUTHOR ‘SECRET SCRIPTURE’ MAKES THE LIST
ACCLAIMED Irish writer, Sebastian Barry, who lives in Tinahely with his family, was in Bray last week after the news broke that he had been shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize for his novel ‘The Secret Scripture’.
‘You never yet used to it,’ said a visibly delighted Barry, having been shortlisted for the 2005 prize for his WWI book ‘A Long Long Way’.
On whether he is revelling in the nomination itself or looking forward to find out if he brings the prize to Wicklow for the second time after Bray woman Anne Enright’s victory last year for ‘The Gathering’, Barry is disarmingly humble. ‘ That’s October 14, and this is now!’
Not letting the happy news go to his head, the author was signing books, having his picture taken and talking to press for several hours last Tuesday after the list was released. Staff of Dubray Books were also thrilled to have their guest in store for so long and eager to congratulate him on making the final set.
‘I’m shocked and delighted,’ he said of the news. ‘It’s only three years since I was first shortlisted. It will take me a few days to get my head around this.’
Barry has been named by bookies as the 2/1 favourite to win the prestigious literary competition. The other shortlisted books are Linda Grant’s ‘The Clothes on Their Backs’, Steve Toltz’s ‘A Fraction of the Whole’, Amitav Ghosh’s ‘Sea of Poppies’, Philip Hensher’s ‘The Northern Clemency’, and Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’.
The Booker prize will be awarded in London on October 14, with a cash prize of ¤ 62,300 and at least 10 times that amount in the extra sales generated.
The plot of ‘The Secret Scripture’ centres around an old woman called Roseanne who has spent most of her life in Roscommon Mental Hospital, despite the fact that she was sane.
Barry spoke of his own great aunt, who was put away in Ireland in the ‘40s ‘ for moral reasons.’
‘In a way it’s her book,’ he said. ‘She is the secret author of ‘ The Secret Scripture.’
Sebastian Barry in Dubray Books on the day of being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.