Belfast Telegraph

Donoghue tells of Booker Prize joy

Irish author Emma Donoghue has said that being one of six authors on the Man Booker Prize shortlist is a dream come true.

The writer was nominated for her novel Room - the tale of a five-year-old locked in an 11ft by 11ft space with his mother.

"I'm flabbergasted to get on to the shortlist. I thought the book might have been too populist," she said.

"It's absolutely fantastic, especially since this is a book with a tricky subject - many people are nervous about reading it. But people have to pluck up the nerve and then they realise that they are safe in my hands. It is a very dark place I lead you into but I also lead you into the light."

Donoghue, a mother of two who has lived in Canada for the last 12 years, said she felt she had no chance of claiming the coveted prize but would enjoy being on the shortlist.

She added: "As a child I would literally lie awake imagining the Booker ceremony. I was a most unusual child in that way. This is the absolute peak of my career."

The Man Booker winner will be announced on October 12, and Donoghue is second favourite.

Sarah Bannan, head of literature at the Arts Council, said Donoghue is a gifted writer dedicated to her art.

"In Room, Emma Donoghue has created a gripping and haunting work of fiction, one which stays with the reader long after the last page," she said. She brings life to an authentic and original voice, and her prose is beautifully crafted.

"Ireland has a considerable reputation for writers and writing, and the current generation of Irish writers is one of the most exciting, talented and diverse. The presence of an Irish writer on the Booker shortlist reflects the strength of contemporary Irish literature and, in order to retain this, it is absolutely imperative for us to continue to support writers to pursue their craft."

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