Arts : Two Up for the Booker Prize

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Byline: Ian Hill

TWO Northern Ireland born authors have been included in the so called "long list", for the prestigious Booker Prize.

For poet and essayist Ciaran Carson has been listed for his latest work the Belfast-based exploration of magical realism, 'Shamrock Tea', published by Granta Books.

Co Down-born Eoin MacNamee who made his name with a first novel about the Shankill Butchers, has made it with his latest controversial "faction", based on the Patricia Curran murder scandal, titled 'The Blue Tango', published by Faber and Faber.

A singer and a musician as well as a writer, Carson was born in 1948 and relates that he was brought up speaking only Irish till he was aged four after which he learned his English on the streets. A graduate of Queen's he taught before joining the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 1975 becoming its Traditional Arts Officer and its Literature Officer.

His early work included 'The New Estate', but it was 'The Irish for No' of 1987 which marked him out as a singular voice with its use of the demotic and its influences from traditional music, mapping a disappearing Belfast, a theme he continued with Belfast Confetti . …