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Booker Prize winner Lynch appointed Fellow at Maynooth

Booker Prize winner Paul Lynch has been appointed Distinguished Writing Fellow at Maynooth University.

The appointment will see the author return as a colleague in the Department of English in Maynooth University where he will teach on the MA in Creative Writing.

Previously, Mr Lynch was the 2019 Kildare County Council Writer-in-Residence at Maynooth University and he was subsequently Maynooth University’s Arts Council Writer-in-Residence in 2023, and in this role, taught a module on creativity and novel-writing, enriching Maynooth’s MA in Creative Writing.

In a video released by Maynooth University, Mr Lynch said he had benefitted on his journey from the help of other writers.

“I’m here now and I think its important for writers to see that if you hear about somebody being a booker shortlisted writer, well actually it turns out that they’re just a normal person,” he said.

“They’re just a writer who served their time. Literary citizenship is an important thing to me and the idea of giving back.

“So I’m giving back now and I’m very happy to do that.”

Prior to winning the 2023 Booker Prize in November for Prophet Song, Mr Lynch’s novels were nominated for, and have won a long list of prizes, including the Prix du Premier Roman, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Prix Gens de Mer and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.

Professor Alison Hood, Dean of Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy, said that Maynooth University was delighted with the appointment.

“Paul’s novels are testament to an extraordinary and visionary talent,” Professor Hood said.

“This appointment means that Maynooth University welcomes Paul back as a colleague in the Department of English, where he will teach on the MA in Creative Writing.”

Prophet Song has been described as an act of ‘radical empathy’, envisioning a dystopian Dublin that is terrifyingly recognisable.

Written in part as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis and begun when Mr Lynch was Kildare County Council Writer-in-Residence at Maynooth University, Prophet Song demonstrates the power of literature not only as a space of refuge or beauty, but as a space of devastating political commentary and, indeed, prophecy.

Novelist Esi Edugyan, the Chair of the Booker Committee, described Mr Lynch’s work in the novel.

“Here the sentence is stretched to its limits – Lynch pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness,” she said.

“He has the heart of a poet, using repetition and recurring motifs to create a visceral reading experience.

“This is a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave.”

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