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Anna Burns wins Man Booker Prize for fiction; becomes first author from North Ireland to win the prize

Anna Burns
Anna Burns

Author Anna Burns of Northern Irish origin won the Man Booker Prize for fiction on October 16. She has won the coveted prize for her novel ‘Milkman’, which is set in the era of conflict and violence resulting from the Catholic-Protestant clash. The author has not only fetched herself a handsome sum of 50,000 pound but has also earmarked a place for herself in history by becoming the first author from North Ireland to have bagged the prize. She was awarded the trophy in London by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Burns, who made her debut in the literary world with ‘No Bones’ 17 years ago, said she was “stunned” about winning the Man Booker Prize. She shared that she has faced finance trouble since the release of her first novel and added that she hoped to “clear her debts” with the prize money and live on whatever is left of it.

The unnamed narrator of the novel is a young woman, who comes across an old man using his political affiliations to prey on young girls. Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who chaired the judging panel said the novel is socially relevant, given the present circumstances, when the #MeToo Movement has gathered momentum, “I think this novel will help people to think about ‘Me Too’, and I like novels that help people think about current movements and challenges.” She also pointed out that the novel will have a lasting impact as “it’s not just about something that’s going on in this moment.”

The other contenders for the prestigious award included Rachel Kushner’s ‘The Mars Room,’ Robin Robertson’s ‘The Long Take’ and Daisy Johnson’s ‘Everything Under’.

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