Irish Author Anna Burns Wins The Man Booker Prize

Here's all you need to know about the Man Booker Prize 2018 winner who also happens to be the first to win from Northern Ireland

learn more about Bhavya Kaushal

By Bhavya Kaushal

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On Tuesday, the Man Booker Prize committee announced that Anna Burns had won the coveted literary title for her book, Milkman. Kwame Anthony Appiah, one of the panellists said in a statement, "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." Burns received the grand prize from Prince Charles wife Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall. Burns was also awarded 50,000 pounds.

Not an Ordinary Tale

Anna Burns, born in 1962 hails from Belfast and currently lives in East Sussex, is the first northern Irish winner. The other Irish winners all come from the Republic. Milkman is a story about an eighteen-year-old being pursued by a paramilitary man. Set in a backdrop of war, turbulence and political scenario, this novel is deeply engaging. Burns took inspiration from her roots, describing that her homeland was "a place that was rife with violence, distrust and paranoia." The jury members have described the language of this book as "simply marvellous." The girl is referred throughout the novel as the "middle sister" who tries to discourage the sexual advances of a man who is elder to her in a good number of years. "It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour," said Appiah.

The #MeToo Solidarity

The story brings focus to the ongoing feminist campaign that has rocked the world. In the wake of MeToo, Appiah, too, offered a few words, "I think this novel will help people think about #MeToo ... It is to be commended for giving us a deep and subtle and morally and intellectually challenging picture of what #MeToo is about." It seems as if no platform in today's time is going to be left without the mention of the #MeToo campaign.

The road to winning the prestigious British literary award was not easy. Burns has to fight off the competition with two American writers, two British authors and one Canadian. This is Burns' third novel after No Bones, Little Construction and Mostly Hero. The initial sales of this novel were just 2,50,000 copies globally, however, with the recent win, the publishing house can expect the sales to go up by massive numbers. This feat also gives Burns a lot of global recognition not ignoring the fact that this turn has come after numerous twists in her life.

Burns was definitely at a loss of words at the ceremony but continued nevertheless. When asked how she will use the prize money? Burns replied, "I'll clear my debts and live on what's left."

Bhavya Kaushal

Former Features Writer

I am a work-in-progress writer and human being. An English graduate from Delhi University, writing is my passion and currently, I am Entrepreneur India's start-up reporter. I love covering start-ups and weaving their stories into unforgettable tales with the power of ink! 

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