Author Anna Burns bagged the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her third full- length novel ‘Milkman’ on Tuesday. She became the first woman from North Ireland to win the literary award.
The 56 year old North Irish writer is the first woman since 2013 and the 17th woman in 49 years to win the award. Burns is also known for her novel ‘No Bones’ published in 2001, which won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize in 2001 and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002.
Belfast born Burns received the award from Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, along with $65,900.
Milkman, a troubles-set novel about a young woman who is sexually harassed by a powerful man, is narrated by an unnamed 18 year old girl, known as ‘middle sister’, who is being pursued by a much older paramilitary figure, the milkman. As observed by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, one of the panel judges, the novel is perceived as ‘incredibly original’.
“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,” philosopher and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah, who chaired the prize’s panel of judges, said in a statement.
“It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humor. Set in a society divided against itself, ‘Milkman’ explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life.”, she added.
The Man Booker Prize recognizes the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK and was established in 1969.
This year’s shortlist had writers from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.