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7 September 2023 | Hardback £16.99

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

In today's world, our televisions broadcast a continuous stream of tragic news, from the horrors of war and famine to poverty and homelessness. And it’s all too easy to become desensitized to these images, forgetting that behind them lie real people whose lives have been impacted. So how can a novelist engage readers in the problems of the world, surprise and shock them, and hold their attention?

Paul Lynch’s latest novel is a deeply moving exploration of the consequences for ordinary people caught up in terrible events. Rather than placing his story in a foreign land, Lynch sets it in his own backyard - Ireland. But this is an imagined Ireland, a nation teetering on the edge of collapse, controlled by a government that is rapidly descending into tyranny.

The story begins on a dark and rainy evening in Dublin, where we meet Eilish Stack, a scientist and mother of four, answering her front door to the newly formed secret police, there to interrogate Larry, her husband and a trade union leader. When Larry mysteriously disappears, Eilish finds herself caught in the nightmarish logic of a collapsing society. History, her sister warns her, is a silent record of people who did not know when to leave. Now, Eilish must confront some terrible choices - what, or who, is she willing to sacrifice to save herself and her family?

Exhilarating, terrifying, and utterly compelling, Prophet Song is a breathtaking exploration of the human capacity for love and resilience in the face of unimaginable terror - the kind that we see every day on TV. The fact that it takes place in a country we know so well, with characters who could be our neighbours, makes it all the more affecting.

For more information, contact Margot Weale, Publicity Director

Paul Lynch's fifth novel PROPHET SONG will be published by Oneworld on 7 September 2023. The book is set in an Ireland falling under the spell of a totalitarian government and tells the tale of Eilish Stack who tries desperately to keep her family together.

“On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find the GNSB on her doorstep. Two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police want to speak with her husband, Larry, a trade unionist for the Teachers’ Union of Ireland. Things are falling apart. Ireland is in the grip of a government that is taking a turn towards tyranny. And as the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a collapsing society — assailed by unpredictable forces beyond her control and forced to do whatever it takes to keep her family together.

Exhilarating, terrifying, propulsive and confrontational, Prophet Song is a work of breathtaking originality, a novel that can be read as a parable of the present, the future and the past.”

Advance praise for Prophet Song:

“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

Beyond the Sea, published as Au Delà de la Mer by Albin Michel in France, has won the 2022 Prix Gens de Mer, a prize dedicated entirely to maritime fiction and non-fiction.

The prize, awarded as part of the Etonnant Voyager literary festival, took place on board a boat on the quays of Saint-Malo. For the first time in 17 editions of the prize, the book was chosen unanimously by the jury.

Paul Lynch said: "I am thrilled to learn that my novel BEYOND THE SEA has won France's Prix Gens de Mer, but it should be said that my translator, Marina Boraso, is the true winner of this award as these are her words on the page. Without translators, who are poorly paid, and the work of Sinéad MacAodha and Literature Ireland which provides grants, Irish writers would have no voice beyond the English language. I feel very fortunate to have Marina translate my work".

The jury was made up of personalities from the literary and maritime world in France:

  • Michèle Polak , antiquarian bookseller, president of the 2021 jury

  • Isabelle Autissier , navigator, journalist, writer, 2006 winner

  • Alain Hugues , navigator, shipyard manager, author

  • Jean-Michel Le Boulanger , teacher, writer, President of Etonnants Voyageurs;

  • Nono , alias Joël Auvin, professor, author, cartoonist;

  • Patrick Soisson , from the Académie de Marine, President of the Compagnie des Pêches

  • Benoît Heimermann , publisher, author, winner 2019

  • Philippe Joubin , author, representing Groupe Ouest-France, media partner

  • Loïc Josse , author, former bookseller, prize secretary

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