Anna Burns won the Man Booker Prize for her novel ‘Milkman’ on Tuesday, becoming the first author from Northern Ireland to win the most prestigious English-language literary award. The 56-year-old author who was born in Belfast became the 18th woman to bag the award and the first since 2013. ‘Milkman’ – Burns’ third novel – is a story of a young woman’s affair with a married man set in the political troubles of Northern Ireland.
“None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose,” said Kwame Anthony Appiah, the chair of the 2018 judging panel. The recipient of the Man Booker Prize gets 52,500 pounds (USD 69,223 or Rs 50.85 lakh).
“Although it’s set in the 70s, Milkman is a deep, subtle, unpolemical and intellectually and moral challenging picture of something which is part of the MeToo challenge,” Appiah added.
1. Burns had moved to London in 1987 and published her first novel ‘No Bones’ in 2001.
2. In 2001, she had won the Winfred Holtby Memorial Prize, an award for the best regional novel. A year later, she was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for her first novella.
3. Her other prominent works include ‘Little Constructions’ published in 2007 and ‘Mostly Hero’, 2014.
4. She currently lives in East Sussex in England and saw off competition from two British writers, two American writers and one Canadian writer to win Man Booker Prize.
5. Burns’ victory was announced at London’s Guildhall, where she was presented with a trophy by Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.
‘Milkman’ was published by Faber & Faber and became the fourth novel by an independent publisher to win the prize. The winning author also received a designer bound edition of her book. The judging panel included British-born Ghanaian-American novelist Appiah; crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.