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George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize 2017 for fiction

George Saunders is an american writer
George Saunders is an american writer of short stories. Flickr

London, October 18: Leading American short story writer George Saunders has been declared as the winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize for fiction for his “unique” and “extraordinary” debut novel “Lincoln in the Bardo”.

Saunders’ win was announced by Lola Baroness Young, the chair of the judging committee, at a dinner at London’s Guildhall late on Tuesday night.

He was presented with a trophy from the Duchess of Cornwall and a 50,000 pounds cheque by Luke Ellis, Chief Executive of Man Group. Saunders also received a designer bound edition of his book and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

Saunders thanked his wife, Paula, referring to her as his “precious friend and artistic hero” for supporting him to achieve the “wonderful honour”.

“If you haven’t noticed, we live in a strange time. So the question at the heart of the matter is pretty simple: do we respond to fear with exclusion and negative projection and violence? Or do we take that ancient great leap of faith and do our best to respond with love? And with faith in the idea that what seems other is actually not other at all, but just us on a different day,” Saunders said upon receiving the prize.

“In the US we are hearing a lot about the need to protect culture. Well this tonight is culture, it is international culture, it is compassionate culture, it is activist culture. It is a room full of believers in the word, in beauty and ambiguity and in trying to see the other person’s point of view even when that is hard.”

The 58-year-old New York resident, born in Texas, is the second American author to win the prize in its 49-year history. He was in contention for the prize with two British, one British-Pakistani and two American writers.

“The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent and deeply moving narrative. This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy,” commented Young, 2017 Chair of judges.

Young’s fellow judges this year were writer and critic Lila Azam Zanganeh, novelist and poet Sarah Hall, the artist and author Tom Phillips, and the travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron

“Lincoln in the Bardo” focuses on a single night in the life of Abraham Lincoln: an actual moment in 1862 when the body of his 11-year-old son was laid to rest in a Washington cemetery. Strangely and brilliantly, Saunders activates this graveyard with the spirits of its dead.

The novel is published by Bloomsbury, making it the third consecutive year the prize has been won by an independent publisher, following Oneworld Publications’ success in 2015 with Marlon James and 2016 with Paul Beatty.

Bloomsbury has won the prize thrice before with Howard Jacobson (2010), Margaret Atwood (2000) and Michael Ondaatje (1992).

The judges considered 144 submissions for this year’s prize. The books losing out on the prize were “4321” by Paul Auster (US), “Elmet” by Fiona Mozley (UK), “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan), “History of Wolves” by Emily Fridlund (US) and “Autumn” by Ali Smith (UK). (IANS)

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Arundhati Roy’s Latest Fiction “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” makes it to the Long-list of Man Booker Prize 2017

The judges have described Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, as "a rich and vital book [that] comes from the bowels of India"

Arundhati Roy makes it to the 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist
Arundhati Roy, Writer of Man Booker Prize for Fiction winning novel The God of Small Things (1997). Wikimedia
  • Arundhati Roy’s “The Ministry’s of Utmost Happiness“, has made it to 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist
  • She has won the Man Booker Prize for her novel, The God of Small Things, two decades ago
  • The winner will be announced on October 17, 2017 

New Delhi, August 6, 2017: Arundhati Roy, with her latest work of fiction, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness“, has made it to this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist. She won the Man Booker Prize for her novel, The God of Small Things, two decades ago, making her the only author on the list to have already won the UK’s most prestigious literary prize.

The judges have described Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, as “a rich and vital book [that] comes from the bowels of India”


With a heterogeneity of four UK, four US, two Irish, two UK-Pakistani and one Indian writer; three debuts; and three novels from independent presses, chair of judges, Baroness Lola Young stated, that only after the judges surveyed the 13 remaining contenders, they realized the diversity of their list.

“The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum – not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age, and gender. Nevertheless, we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times,” said Young.

ALSO READWhy doesn’t Arundhati Roy give up Man Booker, asks Anupam Kher

The Booker wasn’t open to US authors until 2014. Paul Beatty is the first American author to win the literary prize, for The Sellout last year.

Among others who are featured are, Colson Whitehead who has been nominated for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Underground Railroad, Zadie Smith is featured for documenting the relationship between two London girls who meet at a dance class in Swing Time, while Ali Smith has been chosen for novel Autumn.

The 2017 Man Booker prize longlist:
4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)
Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, Little, Brown)

The judges will now re-read these 13 novels and shortlist six of them, which will be announced on 13 September, before the announcement of the winner of the Man Booker on 17 October.

prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha