Paul Lynch on Prophet Song, literature and violence

Winner of the 2023 Booker Prize winner

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In Paul Lynch’s award-winning novel Prophet Song, Ireland has turned into a tyrannical state. One night, Eilish Stack, a mother and a scientist, answers the door to find the secret police looking for her husband. It is the start of a nightmarish attempt to keep her family together in a society that gets more violent by the minute.

Throughout his novel, the horrors of today’s world are revoked. As Paul Lynch says: ‘fiction has a way to work around the guards of a reader’. One can close off from the news, but not from a good book. Tonight, we will discuss violence, empathy, and the ways in which literature can articulate them.


Paul LynchAuthor, winner of the 2023 Booker Prize
Teun Voeten War photographer and anthropologist
Tasha Arend Belarussian artist