Simon Bourke, a Limerick Post reporter and now independent novelist, has been nominated for a national independent author’s award.
His book ‘And the birds kept on singing’ is among four entrants in the best novel category of this year’s Carousel Aware Prize (CAP).
The awards ceremony is being held in Dublin’s Parnell Square on Wednesday 25 October, with proceedings starting at 7pm.
“You know you always wonder what life would have been like if you were adopted,” said Bourke, speaking to Limerick Voice‘s reporter Ethan May on where his inspiration and idea came from for the book.
Bourke had always flirted with the idea of writing his own novel, in reality it had never came to fruition. That was until a chronic fatigue diagnosis in 2011 led to a three year suspension of his third level studies.
“I had a lot of free time on my hands as a result of those issues, and ultimately it became a very dark time in my life,” the 31-year-old said.
To utilise his time off, Bourke began scribing this loosely self-influenced chronicle, and the rest is history.
Having made the CAP shortlisting, the fourth year University of Limerick journalism student described his reaction.
“It’s like when you’re in bed at night dreaming of scoring the winning cup final goal, only in my version I’m sitting in a dark room with the announcer saying ‘and the winner is.’”
“Then I wouldn’t have to be a journalist,” Bourke chuckled as the dream of this nomination would perhaps propel him further into the public eye, and potential publishing deals.
While he may have never envisaged receiving such a prestigious nomination, Bourke’s writing has always been received well, and notably garnered praise from the famous Irish writer Joseph O’Connor who remarked at his; “Brave and admirably ambitious first novel, full of heart and emotion”.
A second, equally depressing and dark-humoured project is now in the offing Bourke says, and is set to focus on a tale of great loss, and all its consequences.
“Starting the second was really difficult,” he said. “The first undertaking was like climbing Everest, and now I feel like I’ve been asked to go up again.”
Aside from Bourke’s best novel category, prizes will also be presented to the winners of the four other classifications, which include best junior book, best young adult book, best anthologies, and best non-fiction.