American writer George Saunders was named the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2017 for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. He is the second author from the United States to receive the award for fiction writing.
Judges praised the book as “utterly original” and “deeply moving”, the BBC reported. The award comes with a cash prize of £50,000 (around Rs 43 lakh).
“Fiction is a way of making us endure ambiguity and see truth,” Sanders said at a press conference after he was declared the winner. “Thank you for this great honour, which I hope to live up to with the rest of my work, for the rest of my life.”
Lincoln in the Bardo is Sanders’ first full-length novel. He was previously known for his short stories.
The book tells the story about the death of former US President Abraham Lincoln’s young son William Lincoln and his visits to his tomb. The story of William Lincoln being stuck in a bardo – an intermediate place for spirits who do not know that they are dead – is set over a single night in a graveyard.
Critics have described Lincoln in the Bardo as extraordinary not only for its quality and emotional impact but for breaking away from regular narrative forms.
The 58-year-old was one of six authors shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Fellow Americans Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund, British writers Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, and British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid were the other writers in the running.