Foras na Gaeilge Irish Language Fiction Book of the Year Award

Shortlist 2023

Béal na Péiste

Béal na Péiste

By Fionntán de Brún

Upon his return to Belfast in 1988, Réamainn Prút felt like a stranger in his hometown. As he walked around, he noticed large advertisements promoting a service that allowed people to share information about terrorists with the police and thus lift the weight of guilt from their conscience. However, memories of his youth flooded his mind and he recalled the old rhyme about forgiveness and reconciliation that roadside preachers used to recite: “Come listen to my tale of Jonah and the whale; way down in the middle of the ocean!” 

He also recalled the night back in December 1942 when he jumped out of a German plane and made his way to his parents’ home in County Down under the cover of darkness. They asked him what he was doing in Germany and what he planned to do now that the authorities were searching for him. Jumping from that plane in 1942 marked the beginning of a tumultuous journey for Réamainn Prút, as he navigated a rocky road that tested his memory, loyalty, and sense of right and wrong. His journey took him across Ireland and Europe, culminating in a violent climax in 1988.

About Fionntán de Brún...

Fionntán de Brún is an academic writer from Belfast who has published one collection of short stories and a novel, Béal na Péiste which was awarded the first prize at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge Literary Awards. His collection of short stories entitled Litir ó mo Mháthair Altrama agus Scéalta eile (Móinín, 2005) won the Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge prize at the 2004 Oireachtas. An English translation of one of these stories was published in Twisted Truths (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2011). He has also published a monograph on the writer Seosamh Mac Grianna, Seosamh Mac Grianna: an Mhéin Rúin (An Clóchomhar, 2002), and has co-edited Éigse Loch Lao 1 (2012) agus Éigse Loch Lao 2 (2013).

He is the Professor of Modern Irish at Maynooth University and is currently working on a monograph on Revivalism in Irish literature as part of a fellowship awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

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