The Gathering (Enright novel)

The Gathering is a 2007 novel by Irish women's fiction writer Anne Enright. It won the 2007 Booker Prize, somewhat accidentally and unexpectedly. It later emerged that Enright had denied Ian McEwan a second Booker Prize; she had simply been the compromise decision reached due to disagreements between the deciders over the merits of McEwan's On Chesil Beach (whether it actually qualified as a novel or was a different category of book, the novella).[1][2][3][4]

The Gathering
First edition
AuthorAnne Enright
Cover artistAndrew Richards
PublisherJonathan Cape
Publication date
3 May 2007
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages272 pp (hardcover)
LC ClassPR6055.N73 G38 2007

Although it received mostly favourable reviews on its first publication, sales of The Gathering had been modest before it was named as one of the six books on the Booker Prize shortlist in September 2007. After winning the prize, sales more than doubled compared to sales before the announcement.[5][6][7] Enright described the book as "...the intellectual equivalent of a Hollywood weepie."[8]

The novel traces the narrator's inner journey, setting out to derive meaning from past and present events, and takes place in Ireland and England. Its title refers to the funeral of Liam Hegarty, an alcoholic who took his own life in the sea at Brighton. His mother and eight of the nine surviving Hegarty children gather in Dublin for his wake. The novel's narrator is 39-year-old Veronica, the sibling who was closest to Liam. She looks through her family's troubled history to try to make sense of his death. She thinks that the reason for his alcoholism lies in something that happened to him in his childhood when he stayed in his grandmother's house, and uncovers uncomfortable truths about her family.[8][9][10]


  1. Higgins, Charlotte (28 January 2009). "How Adam Foulds was a breath away from the Costa book of the year award". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 January 2009. Sometimes you hear hints about judging later – as in how Anne Enright's The Gathering, winner of the 2007 Man Booker, was the outcome of a jury badly split over Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach...
  2. "Irish woman wins Man Booker Prize". RTÉ News. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 16 October 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  3. Enright takes Booker Prize for Fiction. Ireland On-Line. (16 October 2007). Retrieved on 17 October 2007.
  4. "The Gathering wins the Man Booker Prize 2007". The Man Booker Prize. 2007-10-16. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
  5. Rickett, Joel (2007-10-20), "The bookseller", The Guardian, retrieved 2007-10-20
  6. Lyall, Sarah (2007-10-17), "Anne Enright Wins Man Booker Prize", The New York Times, retrieved 2007-10-17
  7. Purcell, Bernard; Battersby, Eileen (2007-10-17), "Irish novelist beats the odds to win Booker Prize for 'The Gathering'", The Irish Times, retrieved 2007-10-17
  8. Lawless, Jill (2007-10-16), "Anne Enright Wins Booker Prize", The Washington Post, retrieved 2007-10-17
  9. "Low-profile literary purist gatecrashes Booker party", Irish Independent, 2007-10-17, retrieved 2007-10-17
  10. Schillinger, Liesl (2007-09-30), "Liam's Wake", The New York Times, retrieved 2007-10-17
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