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Paul Murray's The Bee Sting wins inaugural Nero Gold Prize book award

Irish author Paul Murray has won the Nero Gold Prize Book of the Year for his fourth novel, The Bee Sting.

The book tells the story of a middle-class Irish family, as the effects of the post-2008 Irish banking crisis take their toll on the family finances.

The Nero awards are open to any writer living in the UK or Ireland.

Chair of judges, author Bernardine Evaristo, said it was an "ambitious and entrancing novel", calling Murray "supremely gifted storyteller".

Former Booker Prize winner Evaristo added The Bee Sting was "written with great wit and humanity" and that the novel is "both epic and intimate in scale".

She was joined on the judging panel by BBC journalist James Naughtie and Susie Dent, who appears in "dictionary corner" on Channel 4's Countdown.

They said: "The writing is both accomplished and highly readable, the characters shine, and the family members' individual story arcs are all equally compelling and gripping."

Murray has been presented with a £30,000 cash prize for his win for his fourth novel, which also took inspiration in part from Brexit and the pandemic.

The Bee Sting
The Bee Sting

The Bee Sting won its fiction category, and then claimed the overall prize.

The other category winners were:

  • Children's fiction: The Swifts by Beth Lincoln, illustrated by Claire Powell

  • Debut fiction: Close to Home by Michael Magee

  • Non-fiction: Strong Female Character by Fern Brady

The Bee Sting was also nominated for The Booker Prize, though that was won by fellow Irish author Paul Lynch for his novel, Prophet Song.