Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.


You win the Booker - and splash your cash on a tracker mortgage… what’s the story?

Paul Lynch, the author of Prophet Song, raised a few eyebrows when he said he’d use his winnings to put towards paying off his house. It’s a sign of hard times, writes Richard Godwin – and a far cry from the days when writers blew it all on swimming pools and other perfectly useless extravaganzas

Tuesday 28 November 2023 12:03 GMT
Why buy a swimming pool when you can pay off a tracker mortgage?
Why buy a swimming pool when you can pay off a tracker mortgage? (PA)

When the late AS Byatt won the Booker Prize for Possession in 1990, she famously promised to spend the prize money on a swimming pool for her house in Provence. In 2009, Hilary Mantel vowed to blow her Wolf Hall bounty on “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.” The 2015 winner, Marlon James, looked forward to buying the Ozwald Boateng suit he’d always craved.

So it was a little disconcerting – and slightly depressing – to learn how prosaically the Irish author Paul Lynch intends to spend the £50,000 that his novel, Prophet Song, has earned him.

At the Booker Prize ceremony in London last night, the chair of the judges, Esi Edugyan, said that his book “speaks to the immediate moment while also possessing the possibility of outlasting it”. The same surely applies to Lynch’s intention to use his jackpot to make a dent in his tracker mortgage. Yes, what the modern artist craves is not champagne or diamonds but a reduction of their monthly direct debit payment. Inflation being what it is. And the times being what they are.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in