Normal People, Trinity graduate Sally Rooney’s Man Booker Prize longlisted novel, has landed in bookstores. The novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in July, over a month before publication.
The Castlebar native graduated from Trinity in 2013, having studied English Literature as an undergraduate. A member of the College Historical Society (the Hist), Rooney finished as top speaker at the European University Debating Championships in 2013. She also wrote for Trinity News during her time in College.
The novel is set to the backdrop of Trinity, following the journey of two teenagers, Marianne and Connell, from the west of Ireland eastwards to College and chronicling their respective experiences. The five judge panel of the Man Booker Prize described Rooney’s prose as “composed, compressed [and] allusive”, while Vogue described the book as a “classic coming-of-age love story”.
Rooney’s first novel, Conversations with Friends, published last year, earned her a Young Writer of the Year Award and a nomination for the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s biggest award for young writers.
Rooney wrote her debut novel in three months while pursuing a masters in American Literature at Trinity. Both novels are set in and around Trinity, which Rooney acknowledged in an interview with the Irish Times. She notes that she “hadn’t had all that much experience of adult life that wasn’t in Trinity, so it felt like that was the only thing that I knew how to write about”.
Of the 13 writers longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rooney is alongside fellow Irish writers Donal Ryan and Anna Burns. The shortlist, comprising six novels, is expected to come in September while the winner will be announced on October 16.
Rooney is the editor of literary magazine, The Stinging Fly, in which she previously had two poems published while still in secondary school in Mayo. She currently lives in Dublin.