Caoilinn Hughes has won the 2021 Encore Award with her second novel, The Wild Laughter. The annual Prize of £10,000 is awarded for best second novel of the year.
‘The judges found Caoilinn Hughes’ The Wild Laughter to be a grand feat of comic ingenuity, mischievous and insightful, and full of resonance for the way we live now. The voice of Caoilinn’s doomed narrator, Doharty ‘Hart’ Black, is so original and vibrant, with a very particular poetic vernacular. This is a story of modern Ireland, set in the crash post Celtic Tiger, but it also feels timeless in many ways, with Biblical myth simmering under the surface. The Wild Laughter is a real page-turner, in spite of its literary heart, and a joy to read. We all look forward to reading more from Caoilinn Hughes in the years to come.’
– Encore Award Judges Nikita Lalwani, Paul Muldoon and Sian Cain.
‘The trail between the first and second novel is rough terrain. But the readership a writer finds through her second novel is the more enduring readership. The Encore Award is a crucial recognition of its stakes. This Award helped to bring Irish writer heroes like Dermot Healy, Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín to the fore, not to mention Sally Rooney and Lisa McInerney more recently. UK writers I so admire like Ali Smith and A L Kennedy were also championed early on by this award. To be following this lineage is strange and glorious.’
– Caoilinn Hughes, Winner of the Encore Award 2021
About The Wild Laughter:
It’s 2008, and the Celtic Tiger has left devastation in its wake. Brothers Hart and Cormac Black are waking up to a very different Ireland – one that widens the chasm between them and brings their beloved father to his knees. Facing a devastating choice that risks their livelihood, if not their lives, their biggest danger comes when there is nothing to lose.
A sharp snapshot of a family and a nation suddenly unmoored, this epic-in-miniature explores cowardice and sacrifice, faith rewarded and abandoned, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we resist. Hilarious, poignant and utterly fresh, The Wild Laughter cements Caoilinn Hughes’ position as one of Ireland’s most audacious, nuanced and insightful young writers.
‘Extraordinary… A book of wicked intelligence and tender heart.’ – Max Porter, author of Lanny
Order your copy online here.