Belfast author Jan Carson has won the EU Prize for Literature Ireland 2019 for her novel The Fire Starters. The award is worth €5,000 and is dedicated to supporting emerging talent throughout the European Union and to promote quality literature and its translation into other European languages.
University of Limerick lecturer Sorcha de Brún from the School of English, Irish and Communication, was one of the five member jury panel, along with Conor Kostick (Author and Jury President), Ronan Colgan, Sinéad Mac Aodha agus Nessa O’Mahony. The other shortlisted works were Niamh Boyce, Her Kind (Penguin Books); Rosemary Jenkinson, Catholic Boy (Doire Press);Bernie McGill, The Watchhouse (Tinder).
Jury President, Conor Kostick, writes of the winning novel:
‘This is a sensuous read where sentences tumble unexpectedly from the page. More importantly, this a book that is rooted in a very particular geographical and social space but which reaches out to the whole of Europe in its engagement with myth and paternal crisis.
“There has been something of a renaissance in literature from Northern Ireland in the last decade, perhaps underpinned by a peace process that has allowed authors to breathe and speak with daringly candid voices. Here, for example, we enter the mind of a sectarian murderer from East Belfast, now reformed. For readers wanting an insight into the lived experience of the people of Belfast, especially those working class Protestants who have been neglected in literature, they will obtain such from this novel.”