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A Man Booker shortlisting for an Irish Laureate

7 September 2015

'Well, it's more fun the second time around! Actually, the first time I was really delighted, and sort of vindicated. But when it happened, I was working all the time to try and pay the bills, and it took a walloping two months out of my working life. I couldn't write a damn thing, so that was a bit frightening...

The laureateship meant an awful lot more to me than any prize I got, because it happened at home. It takes Ireland a while to accept one of its writers, because there's a very dissenting tradition in Irish writing. Writers are never telling wonderful stories about Ireland, they're telling interesting stories about Ireland, and Ireland doesn't necessarily appreciate that. So for me to be accepted, for a female voice - with all the anxiety there is about the female voice in Ireland - for that somehow to dissolve, and this symbolic thing of the laureateship, is just lovely.'

Anne Enright, author of The Green Road and the Booker Prize-winning The Gathering, in the Observer