Friday, 26 April, 2019


American author George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize

Author George Saunders of the United States with his book 'Lincoln in the Bardo' during American author George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize
Hannah Rogers | 18 October, 2017, 06:03

American author George Saunders has been handed this year's Man Booker Prize for his first full-length novel.

Six novels are contending for the 50,000 pound ($66,000) prize, including Saunders' tale of Abraham Lincoln and his dead son and USA novelist Paul Auster's quadruple coming-of-age story "4321".

Baroness Lola Young, who chaired the Booker judging panel, said the novel "stood out because of its innovation, its very different styling, the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these almost-dead souls".

In a brief, politically-tinged acceptance speech, he made several thinly-veiled references to the controversial policies of US President Donald Trump.

In his winning speech, he said: "We live in a odd time". Washington Post critic Ron Charles urged Britain to "please take your Booker Prize back home" in a recent article bemoaning the homogeneity of USA culture.

"Well this tonight is culture, it is worldwide culture, it is compassionate culture, it is activist culture".

He later told reporters he was in disbelief and numb at the award.

He added: "It sounds a little pathetic but for an artist I think validation is really helpful".

This year's shortlist stoked controversy over its big name omissions and eclectic line up, with one British columnist calling it "baffling" and a leading U.S. critic decrying its "Americanisation".

LONDON-One of the three British and three USA authors is set to be victor of this year's Man Booker Prize, whose shortlist stirred controversy over its big name omissions.

It pitted three nominees from the United States against two British writers and a British-Pakistani author.

This is the second year in a row that an American has taken home the prize - in a year when USA authors made up 50 percent of the short list.

Accepting his trophy, Saunders said the book's style may be complex, but the question posed at its heart is simple - Do we respond to uncertain times with fear and division, "or do we take that ancient great leap of faith and try to respond with love?"

Saunders said he was unsure how exactly to tell the story at the outset, but relished the artistic freedom.

In 2006, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship, while in 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Saunders, 58, was one of six authors shortlisted for the prestigious award, alongside British writers Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, fellow Americans Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund, and British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. It was the first time the Man Booker had been awarded to an American.

The judging panel deliberated for five hours on Tuesday before naming Saunders as the victor - a session which included spells of "fierce debate" and tears of relief when they reached a decision.

She said the nationalities of the writers were not a factor, and the group were "very diligent, very thorough" in their considerations.

"I'm not going to pretend it was easy", she said.

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