Donal Ryan has won the Guardian’s first book award for The Spinning Heart: Synopsis –In the aftermath of Ireland’s financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds
Born in 1977, in a north Tipperary village, the author wrote the first draft of the novel in the summer of 2010, ‘as economic collapse and deep cuts left one in three under the age of 30 unemployed’.
Speaking during the ceremony at Tate Modern in London, the writer said he found it difficult to believe that he had won. He dedicated the award to all writers “working at their beginnings”. “Of the many obstacles that stand in the way of a first book as it makes its precarious way into the world and into its readers hands,” he explained, “fear is often the biggest and the most difficult to surmount. Fear of not being good enough, of not being able to say what we mean.”