Books

Mayo man's book wins £10,000 - and it's only one sentence long

Writer Mike McCormack 

A WRITER  from Co Mayo who wrote an entire book in a single, novel-length sentence has been awarded a prestigious £10,000 prize.

Mike McCormack scooped the Goldsmiths Prize 2016 for Solar Bones, which covers just a few hours in the life of Irish engineer Marcus Conway, briefly returned from the dead on All Souls’ Day in 2008.

Published by Tramp Press, the work was chosen from 111 books up for the prize, and is the fourth winner of the competition, founded in 2013.

One of the judges, Professor Blake Morrison, said: “Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently.

“Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work.”

Also available as an ebook, it begins almost in poetry format, with: “the bell the bell as hearing the bell as hearing the bell as standing here the bell being heard standing here hearing it ring out through the grey light of this morning, noon or night”.

It continues as prose, but without any full stops or full sentences.

The other five shortlisted entries included Transit by Rachel Cusk, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride, Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, and Martin John by Anakana Schofield.

Mike, 51, grew up in County Mayo and is best known for his collections of short stories, including Getting It In The Head (1996) and Forensic Songs (2012).

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Books