Anna Burns wins Booker Prize with Northern Ireland-set novel 'Milkman'
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LONDON â" Anna Burns won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction Tuesday for ââMilkman,ââ a vi brant, violent story about men, women, conflict and power set during Northern Irelandâs years of Catholic-Protestant violence.
Burns is the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the 50,000-pound ($66,000) prize, which is open to English-language authors from around the world. She received her trophy from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a black-tie ceremony at Londonâs medieval Guildhall.
The 56-year-old Belfast-born novelist said she was ââstunnedââ to have won. Burns said her books took a long time to complete, and she has often struggled financially since her first novel, ââNo Bones,ââ was released in 2001.Advertisement
ââI just wait for my characters to come and tell me their stories, and I canât write until they do,ââ Burns told reporters. ââAlso, as with a lot of writers, they donât earn much money. So that gets in the way of the creativity.ââGet The Weekender in your inb ox: The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here
Burns said that with her prize money, ââI will clear my debts and live on whatâs left.ââ
The writer said the germ of ââMilkmanââ came to her in the image of a teenage girl walking down a street in a divided city while reading the novel ââIvanhoe.ââ
ââMilkmanââ is narrated by a bookish young woman dealing with an older man who uses family ties, social pressure and political loyalties as weapons of sexual coercion and harassment. It is set in the 1970s, but was published amid the global eruption of sexual misconduct allegations that sparked the ââMe Tooââ movement.
ââI think this novel will help people to think about âMe Too,â and I like novels that help people think about current movements and challenges,ââ said philo sopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who chaired the judging panel. ââBut we think itâll last â" itâs not just about something thatâs going on in this moment.âAdvertisement
Founded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Americans have been eligible since 2014, and there have been two American winners â" Paul Beattyâs ââThe Selloutââ in 2016 and George Saundersâ ââLincoln in the Bardoââ in 2017.
A third consecutive American victor would have revived fears among some U.K. writers and publishers that the prize is becoming too U.S.-centric. But Appiah said neither the nationality nor the gender of the authors was a factor in the judgesâ deliberations on the shortlist of four female authors and two men.
The Man Booker has a reputation for transforming writersâ careers, and the one who will emerge from the field to beat other finalists is always subject to intense spec ulation and lively betting. Previous winners include Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy and Hilary Mantel.
ââMilkmanââ appears on the printed page with few paragraph marks, which has led some to label it experimental and challenging. But Appiah said the vivid, distinctive Belfast language in Burnsâ book was ââreally worth savoring.ââ
ââIf youâre having difficulty, try reading it out loud,ââ he said. ââThe pleasure of it really has to do with the way that it sounds.âSource: Google News Ireland | Netizen 24 Ireland