Northern Irish novelist Anna Burns has been named the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize for Milkman.
The novel tells the story of a young girl’s affair with a married man and is set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Rather unusually, none of its characters have names, with the first person narrator even referring to herself as ‘middle sister’.
It was chosen from a shortlist of six, which included three British authors, one American author and one Canadian author.
Milkman is the fourth book from the 56-year-old writer. Her debut, No Bones, was published in 2001, and followed six years later by Little Constructions. Her most recent work prior to Milkman was Mostly Hero – a novella published in 2014.
Milkman was described as “enormously rewarding” by Kwame Anthony Appiah, the chairman of the judges. Speaking to the BBC, Appiah said, “One of the wonderful things about [Milkman] is the texture of the language. It’s written in this amazing voice of this woman who is living in a divided society. She’s being harassed by a man who is sexually interested in her, and he’s taking advantage of divisions in the society to use the power he has, because of those divisions, to go after her.”
Milkman beat the favourite to win, Daisy Johnson, who at the age of 27 would have been the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker, had she won for her novel Everything Under.
The other nominees were Robin Robertson for The Long Take, Esi Edugyan for Washington Black, Rachel Kushner for The Mars Room, and Richard Powers for The Overstory.
Burns becomes the first ever Northern Irish novelist to take the £50,000 prize. She was awarded the honour by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK