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Official website of author
BOOKER prize winner 2023

about paul lynch

Paul Lynch is the Booker Prize-winning author of five novels: PROPHET SONG, BEYOND THE SEA, GRACE, THE BLACK SNOW and RED SKY IN MORNING.

His debut novel RED SKY IN MORNING was published to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2013. It was a finalist for France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize) and was nominated for the Prix du Premier Roman (First Novel Prize). In the US, it was an Book of the Month and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, where Lynch was hailed as “a lapidary young master”. It was a book of the year in The Irish Times, The Toronto Star, the Irish Independent and the Sunday Business Post.

THE BLACK SNOW (2014) was an Book of the Month. In France it won the French booksellers’ prize Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel and the inaugural Prix des Lecteurs Privat. It was nominated for the Prix Femina and the Prix du Roman Fnac (Fnac Novel Prize). It was hailed as “masterful” by The Sunday Times, “fierce and stunning” by The Toronto Star and featured on NPR’s All Things Considered where Alan Cheuse said that Lynch’s writing was found “somewhere between that of Nobel poet Seamus Heaney and Cormac McCarthy”.

GRACE was published in 2017 to massive international acclaim. The Washington Post called the book, “a moving work of lyrical and at times hallucinatory beauty… that reads like a hybrid of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road'”. It won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the William Saroyan International Prize. In France it was shortlisted for the Prix Jean Monnet for European Literature, among other prizes. It was a book of the year in the Guardian, the Irish Independent, Kirkus and Esquire, a Staff Pick at The Paris Review and an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review.

BEYOND THE SEA was published in September 2019 to wide critical acclaim in the UK, Ireland, Australia and the US. The Wall Street Journal called the book "mesmerising"; The Guardian called the book “frightening but beautiful”, while The Sunday Times said it had “echoes of Melville, Dostoyevsky and William Golding”. It was chosen as a book of the year in the Irish Independent by Sebastian Barry who called the book "masterly". In 2021, it was published to wide acclaim in France where it won the 2022 Prix Gens de Mers. 

PROPHET SONG was published to ravishing praise in August 2023 and won the Booker Prize as well as being shortlisted for the An Post Irish Novel of the Year. The Booker Prize jury called the novel "soul-shattering... truly a masterful work". John Boyne in The Sunday Independent called Prophet Song "entirely original". The Observer called the book "a crucial book for our current times... brilliant, haunting". The TLS called it "thunderously powerful". The Guardian called it "an urgent, important read". The Literary Review called the book "a masterly novel". Ron Charles in the Washington Post called the book "a prophetic masterpiece". 

Paul Lynch was born in Limerick in 1977, grew up in Co Donegal, and lives in Dublin. In 2024, he was appointed Distinguished Writing Fellow at Maynooth University and was elected to Aosdána, which honours artists who have made outstanding contributions to the creative arts in Ireland.

Prizes & nominations

2024: Strega European Prize: Shortlisted

2023: Booker Prize: Winner

2023: An Post Irish Novel of the Year: Shortlisted

2022: Prix Gens de Mers: Winner

2020: Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award: Winner

2019: Prix Jean Monnet for European Literature: Shortlisted

2019: Prix Littérature Monde: Shortlisted

2019: Grand Prix de L’Héroïne: Shortlisted

2018: Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year: Winner

2018: The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction: Shortlisted

2018: The William Saroyan Prize for International Writing: Shortlisted

2016: Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel: Winner

2016: Prix des Lecteurs Privat: Winner

2016: Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award: Shortlisted

2015: Prix Femina: Longlisted

2015: Prix du Roman Fnac: Longlisted

2014: Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize): Shortlisted

2014: Prix du Premier Roman (First Novel Prize): Longlisted

2013: Bord Gais Irish Books of the Year: Shortlisted


Red Sky in Morning

The Black Snow


Beyond The Sea

Prophet Song

The new novel from Paul Lynch:






A book of the year in:

The FT • The Guardian • Irish Independent

 Irish Examiner • Daily Mirror

Daily Express • The Telegraph

Waterstones • The Economist • The Tablet


A fearless portrait of a society on the brink and a mother’s battle to save her family

Oneworld: UK, Ireland, Commonwealth: 24 August 2023

 Grove Atlantic: North America, 12 December 2023


"Paul Lynch’s harrowing and dystopian Prophet Song vividly renders a mother’s determination to protect her family as Ireland’s liberal democracy slides inexorably and terrifyingly into totalitarianism. Readers will find it timely and unforgettable. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for a novelist to capture the social and political anxieties of our moment so compellingly.

— Booker Prize Jury

"If there was ever a crucial book for our current times, it’s Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song...a literary manifesto for empathy for those in need and a brilliant, haunting novel that should be placed into the hands of policymakers everywhere."

— Observer

"The Irish offspring of The Handmaid’s Tale and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Paul Lynch’s Booker-longlisted fifth novel is as nightmarish a story as you’ll come across: powerful, claustrophobic and horribly real. From its opening pages it exerts a grim kind of grip; even when approached cautiously and read in short bursts it somehow lingers, its world leaking out from its pages like black ink into clear water…  Where Prophet Song leads us in its closing pages is shocking, yet grimly inevitable. We would do well not to look away."

— Guardian


"A gripping, brilliantly realised story of political violence [inviting] comparisons with the work of Margaret Atwood and George Orwell… The local can be anywhere; other people’s nightmares can be yours. This is a masterly novel that reminds us that democracy is always fragile, and that it is fragile now."

— Literary Review

"Thunderously powerful… beautifully measured and solemn prose... Lynch asks us to face some of our darkest fears, and if he offers no comfort, and little hope, then we must surely recognize his true purpose: that the furious reader should return to the real world determined to find a better ending for this story.

— Times Literary Supplement

"Lynch's writing bristles with tension... It's greatest achievement is that at no point do the events depicted feel too improbable to be realistic… In a time when so many novels feel like carbon copies of books we've read before, Prophet Song is entirely original and might well find its Booker journey continuing further yet."

— John Boyne, Sunday Independent

"Eilish is a wonderful creation… Lynch does an excellent job of showing just how swiftly – and plausibly – a society like ours could collapse. Certain sequences read like a thriller – readers will find themselves literally holding their breath – while others are rendered in beautiful, lyrical prose."

— Irish Independent

"A book of encroaching terror… Lynch's language is darkly lyrical, rich."

— Sunday Telegraph

"A chilling fable… Paul Lynch is who we need now to tell us about our contradictory world… Lynch renders this almost-Ireland in fluid, poetic prose, moulding sentences as if they were made of plasticine. It's no surprise that since his debut he has been compared with the American writer Cormac McCarthy."

— Sunday Times (Ireland)

“Prophet Song is a literary tour de force of mesmerising dexterity, a book that comes right at you with all the pace of a thriller… Tense. Terrifying. Heartbreaking”.

— Ros Dee, Sunday Independent

"The fifth novel from one of the most acclaimed Irish writers of his generation… it’s being touted as 'Ireland’s 1984'."

— Telegraph

"I don’t know when I last read a book that left me as shaken and disturbed as Paul Lynch's fifth novel. It is a tremendous achievement… Paul Lynch is a fearless writer - unafraid of taking on large themes and tackling them face to face... Prophet Song is an extraordinary achievement, totally realistic, demonstrating the power of fiction to enhance our empathy for those elsewhere."

— Irish Examiner


"Longlisted for the Bookerprize, and deservedly so, this is one of the most harrowing, minatory and provocative novels I have read in a while. It has the sharp cut of reality despite being set in an alternative version of our world, except for when it is all too recognisable. The final and penultimate chapters are truly shuddersome... The Irish context is important — I thought of it more as a kind of metaphysical novel. At what point do you flee? How do humans cope when faced with the unbearable, the inconceivable? Is the idea of common humanity an ethical fiction? So many books today do not take such questions seriously and reduce real politics to party politics."

— Scotland on Sunday

"While much of the book’s sinister power lies in how Lynch hints at the steps by which democracy gives way to totalitarianism, its real energy comes from how he portrays the continuing everyday pressure of Eilish’s obligations to her children and frail father amid the deepening turmoil."

— Daily Mail

"As Eilish's world begins to disintegrate around her, under the pressure of competing ideology and suspicion, the tension ratchets up almost unbearably. Lynch builds us a new world, and then pulls it apart with immense skill."

— ABC News, Australia

"Paul Lynch constructs a lyrical, devastating exploration of the political, social, and emotional fallout of an authoritarian takeover. Reminiscent of the poetry of Seamus Heaney and the prose of Cormac McCarthy, Lynch’s writing sustains a unique, enchanting narrative voice. Laced with confusion, corruption, and conflict, Prophet Song is a dystopian lament that exquisitely uses the iconic imagery of Ireland, along the lines of James Joyce, to create an atmospherically overwhelming novel, warning of the potential woes of a modern-day fascist purge."

— Readings, Australia

“A chilling study of Ireland becoming a fascist state… Lynch is brilliant at capturing people’s disbelief and denial throughout the slow slide into totalitarianism. An urgent, important read."

— Justine Jordan, the Guardian (Booker round-up)

“With this stunning novel Paul Lynch has joined the ranks of Atwood, Orwell and Burgess.”

— Christine Dwyer Hickey, author of The Narrow Land


“Surely one of the most important novels of this decade”

— Ron Rash, author of Serena

“I haven't read a book that has shaken me so intensely in many years.  The particular genius of this novel is that it makes the impossible possible... Prophet Song becomes a testament to a world unravelling. The comparisons are inevitable — Saramago, Orwell, McCarthy — but this novel will stand entirely on its own...“

— Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon

“A monumental novel, prose so flawless and flowing that reading it is akin to being taken up in a wave. You emerge dazed. You remember why fiction matters. It's hard to recall a more powerful novel in recent years.

— Samantha Harvey, author of The Western Wind

“The work of a master novelist, Prophet Song is a stunning, midnight vision.”

— Rob Doyle, author of Threshold

“Part cautionary tale; part dystopian nightmare; part fever dream.

Prophet Song takes you to the edge of the chasm and insists that you

look down. A masterclass in terror and dread.“

— Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca

“Gripping, chilling and terribly prescient — a novel with a darkly important message about this particular moment in time.“

— Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither

“A mesmerising, shattering novel, Prophet Song lives and breathes on the page and lingers long after finishing it. A paean to maternal love amidst gathering forces of darkness, Paul Lynch has done something extraordinary. It is a work of wonder.“

— Lisa Harding, author of Bright Burning Things

“Paul Lynch is a writer of great vision and power and Prophet Song is his best book yet.“

— Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find the GNSB on her step. Two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police are here to interrogate her husband, a trade unionist. 

Ireland is falling apart. The country is in the grip of a government turning towards tyranny and when her husband disappears, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a society that is quickly unravelling. How far will she go to save her family? And what – or who – is she willing to leave behind?


Exhilarating, terrifying and propulsive, Prophet Song is a work of breathtaking originality, offering a devastating vision of societal collapse and a deeply human portrait of a mother’s fight to hold her family together.



Paul Lynch representation:

Literary Agent — Simon Trewin, London.


please contact the Simon Trewin Agency: email

For all enquiries relating to NORTH AMERICAN and INTERNATIONAL SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, please contact Trinity Ray at the Tuesday Agency: email 

For all enquiries relating to FILM or THEATRICAL RIGHTS, please contact Emily Hayward-Whitlock at the Artists Partnership: email

For all enquiries relating to PUBLICITY, MEDIA ENQUIRIES and INTERVIEW REQUESTS, please email a publicist in the relevant country below:

For publicity in the UK and Ireland:

Oneworld — Margot Weale. Contact: email

For publicity in North America:

Grove — Deb Seager. Contact: email

Pour la publicité en France:
Edition Albin Michel — Florence Godfernaux. Contacter:  email

Per la pubblicità in Italia:
66th&2nd — Contatto:  email

write to paul lynch
If you would like to write to Paul Lynch directly about his work, please fill in the contact form below. Due to the high volume of emails, please do not expect a response but every email will be read by Paul. IMPORTANT: Please do not use this form for anything relating to publicity, rights enquiries or invitations.

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