Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Books

Two Troubles-based books awarded 2019 Orwell Prize

Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns at the Lyric
Man Booker Prize-winning author Anna Burns at the Lyric
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Writer Patrick Radden Keefe (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Two books about the Troubles in Northern Ireland were the 2019 Orwell Prize winners.

The prizes are the UK’s most prestigious for political writing and see the Orwell Foundation award the work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.

The prize for Political Fiction, awarded for the first time this year, was given to Booker-prize winning author Anna Burns (57) for her novel, Milkman.

Burns's critically acclaimed novel is an experimental tale of sexual coercion in the Troubles.

Last year, she became the first author from Northern Ireland to win the prestigious Booker prize.

The Orwell Prize for Political Writing was awarded to American writer and investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe (43) for his book Say Nothing, which forensically details the murder of Jean McConville by the IRA in 1972.

patrick_radden_keefe.jpg
Writer Patrick Radden Keefe (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Mrs McConville, a 38-year-old widow, was taken from her home in Belfast and accused of being a British informer.

She was never seen alive again and became one of 'the Disappeared'. Her remains were discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

Broadcaster, editor and Orwell prize judge Ted Hodgkinson said Radden Keefe's work was a "haunting and timely portrait" of the Troubles.

"It opens with the disappearance of a mother of ten and radiates outwards to encompass the entire conflict, giving voice to characters and stories often shrouded in silence, and leaving an indelible and nuanced impression of the human cost of this unstable chapter of history."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph