Lavinia Greacen is the author of a biography of J.G. Farrell, J.G. Farrell: The Making of a Writer, and the editor of the recent volume J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries (to which John Banville provided an introduction). She recently sent out a letter to spread word that Farrell's novel Troubles is one of six books shortlisted for the Lost Booker Prize of 1970.
Last week the Irish Embassy in London invited Cork University Press to launch JG Farrell in His Own Words, his Selected Letters and Diaries, which was edited by me. The Ambassador made an excellent speech, and the packed event was a great success.
The timing could not have been better. The following day JG Farrell made the Lost Man Booker Prize shortlist with Troubles, his novel set in Ireland, which was subsequently awarded the Faber Prize. It is the first book of his acclaimed Empire Trilogy.
The "Lost" Man Booker is a one-off prize to honour the books which missed out on the opportunity to win the Booker Prize in 1971. That year, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became-as it is today-a prize for the best novel of the year of publication. As a result a wealth of fiction published for much of 1970 fell through the net. Twenty-one novels were chosen last month for the longlist, and now six are on the shortlist.
J.G. Farrell—known to his friends as Jim—was drowned on August 11, 1979 when he was swept off rocks by a sudden storm while fishing in West Cork. He was in his early forties. "Had he not sadly died so young," remarked Salman Rushdie in 2008, "there is no question that he would today be one of the really major novelists of the English language. The three novels that he did leave are all in their different way extraordinary."
The winner will be decided by public vote, and this closes-quite soon-on 23 April 2010. The result will be announced on 19 May.
If you feel that Irish author JG Farrell deserves to win, then please vote by using the link below. Please circulate this email widely, too, because every single vote for Farrell is valuable!
With best wishes from Ireland,
Sam Jordison writes about The Siege of Krishnapur, the second book of Farrell's Empire Trilogy, which did in fact win the Booker in 1973.
The Cork University Press blog posts some photographs of Farrell's grave, and of the house he moved into in Cork not long before his death.