Writers must learn to have a tough skin but Irish author Donal Ryan proved his hide is impenetrable after his debut novel “The Spinning Heart” was rejected 47 times by different publishers.
Now Ryan has been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize an immense honor in itself. Ryan is joined on the list by two other Irish on the shortlist - Colm Tóibín for “The Testament of Mary”, Colum McCann for “TransAtlantic” - among the 13 authors shortlisted for the prize.
His novel, completed two years ago, was “plucked out of the slush pile by an intern” at Dublin’s Lilliput Press, who raved about the novel to publisher Anthony Farrell, the Irish Independent reports.
“The Spinning Heart”, told from the points of view of 21 people, examines those struggling to survive the modern day Great Recession in a rural village in southwest Ireland.
"It's unbelievable the way the book has connected with so many people," he said.
"There's not much plot, but people seem to like the characters. It's a very local story but you could say it's universal because this economic crisis and all the austerity is damaging people in small towns not just in Ireland but across Europe."
Ryan’s book advance wasn’t large enough for the father-of-two to support his family. He continues to work at a civil servant in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Limerick.
Also roundly rejected his first novel will soon become his second published book, set to be released in the fall of 2014
The 36-year-old Tipperary born author, who lives in Limerick, told the Limerick Leader “I was literally speechless [when I heard about the Booker Man].
“I was getting phone calls from people and I couldn’t speak.”