Ronan Bennett was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2004. This caused controversy: as a young man he was twice imprisoned, once for involvement with the IRA and once for anarchist terrorism offences.
Bennett, English-born but raised in Northern Ireland, has always been politically active, and while his five novels don’t deal directly with the Troubles they do so by allegory and allusion - Havoc is a tale of religious sectarianism in England before the Civil War. Since his last novel, Zugzwang (2006), which was published in weekly instalments in the Observer newspaper, he has concentrated on writing for film and television. He has also worked as a researcher for the former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and written a regular newspaper column on chess.