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Literature: Adrian Duncan – Interview and Reading

Today ICC Digital brings you an interview, followed by a literary reading from Adrian Duncan, this year’s winner of the inaugural John McGahern Annual Book Prize, for his novel, ‘Love Notes From A German Building Site’.

The John McGahern Book prize of £5,000 is for the best debut work of fiction – either novel or short stories – by an Irish writer.  It was set up in 2019 by the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies in memory of John McGahern.

This year’s judges for the prize were University Vice-Chancellor Dame Professor Janet Beer; acclaimed Irish author of  ‘Brooklyn’, Colm Tóibín; Professor of Irish literature, Frank Shovlin; and The Irish Times fiction reviewer, Sarah Gilmartin.

The judges praised the “pitch perfect debut”, for its “spare, exact prose”, and how it reveals “what it might mean to be Irish in the 21st Century”.

Irish Author Colm Tóibín said: “Love Notes from a German Building Site is written in spare, exact prose. Set mainly on a building site in Berlin, it captures the urgencies and exigencies of construction, as well as the close and strained personal relationships that develop between workers over time.”

“Duncan writes beautifully about cold weather, gruff manners, systems of hierarchy. He also writes beautifully about precious time off, or the occasions when memory takes over.”

Adrian Duncan is seen interviewed by Professor Peter Shirlow, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies. He thanks Madeline McGahern for supporting the book prize.

This 20 minute interview is followed by a never seen before 10 minute reading from the novel by Adrian Duncan.

For more information about The John McGahern Annual Book Prize and The Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, go to https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/irish-studies/