Sri Lankan born Canadian, Michael Ondaatje wins Golden Man Booker Prize

Esequiel Farfan
Julio 11, 2018

Canadian author Michael Ondaatje's novel originally won the prestigious award in 1992 and has now gone on to scoop the Golden Man Booker, a one-off accolade to mark the prize's 50th anniversary. The Golden Man Booker victor was revealed at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre. "The English Patient", which follows the lives of four characters brought together during World War II, told through the morphine-affected memories of a severely burned patient, was a Booker Prize victor in 1992.

The judges were journalist Robert McCrum, who chose In a Free State by VS Naipaul for the 1970s; poet Lemn Sissay, who chose Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively for the 1980s; novelist Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient for the 1990s; broadcaster Simon Mayo, who chose Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the 2000s; and poet Hollie McNish, who chose Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders for the 2010s.

A panel of judges read all 51 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker's history.

"Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list – or any other list that could have been put together of Booker novels", Ondaatje said at the awards ceremony at London's Southbank yesterday.

"It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate – one moment you're in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient's mouth", she said. It's intricately and rewardingly structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page.

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"And through all this, he makes you fall in love with his characters, live their joys and their sorrows".

The prize was founded in 1968 and the first victor was named in 1969.

"Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative".

The Fund's Chairman of the Booker prize, Baroness Helena Kennedy in a statement following the vote, called the novel "the English patient" "the thrill of working in the field of fiction, poetic and philosophical". In 2008, a similar competition was held on the book's 40 anniversary, but Salman Rushdie won the public votes with Midnight's Children. Clearly, its acclaim has stood the test of time.

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