Established in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is a seal of approval most authors around the world can only dream of. Each year, one fictional novel is chosen from a shortlist of English language titles from international authors by a committee of writers, publishers and authors. And last night, this year’s recipient was revealed as Anna Burns.
Originally from Ireland and living in the UK, Burns authored the winning novel Milkman, a story set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland about a young girl who is having an affair with a married man. None of its characters have names, with the main protagonist referring to herself only as middle sister in an unusual twist. In an interview with the Booker Prize Foundation, Burns said her work was inspired by her own life, explaining “I grew up in a place that was rife with violence, distrust and paranoia, and peopled by individuals tring to navigate and survive in that world as best as they could.” The Washington Post reports that Graywolf editor Steve Woodward said of the book in a statement, “Milkman is a novel if tremendous power and verve and the voice of the middle sister, who rallies against the pervasive influence of the patriarchy is still ringing in our ears. This is a historic recognition for a book and author that are more than equal to the moment.”
As the winner, Burns takes just over Dhs242,000 in prize money and sales of the book are expected to soar as a result of the win.
A good choice for your next book club…