Michael Ondaatje's 'The English Patient' voted best Man Booker Prize winner in public poll

"The English Patient" won the Booker in 1992 and was made into a 1996 movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche that won nine Academy Awards.

Published: 09th July 2018 10:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2018 10:57 AM   |  A+A-

Michael Ondaatje (File Photo | AFP)

By Associated Press

LONDON: Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient" was named the greatest-ever winner of the Man Booker Prize at an event Sunday celebrating five decades of the prestigious literary award.

The Canadian writer's tale of love and conflict during World War II was awarded the Golden Man Booker Prize for fiction after winning a public vote.

"The English Patient" won the Booker in 1992 and was made into a 1996 movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche that won nine Academy Awards.

It beat four other novels in an online poll that drew 9,000 votes in all. Organizers didn't give a breakdown of votes for the books, each of which represented one of five decades.

A panel of judges selected five books from among the 51 winners of the Booker, a prize that has boosted the careers of writers such as Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy and Kazuo Ishiguro.

The 1970s finalist was "In a Free State" by Trinidad-born V.S. Naipaul, while "Moon Tiger" by British writer Penelope Lively was the 1980s contender. Hilary Mantel's Tudor saga "Wolf Hall" and George Saunders' U.S. Civil War symphony "Lincoln in the Bardo" were the finalists from the 2000s and 2010s.

Ondaatje said he did not believe "for a second" that his book was the best. He paid tribute to the late "The English Patient" film director, Anthony Minghella, "who I suspect had something to do with the result of this vote."

Novelist Kamila Shamsie, one of the judges, said Ondaatje's book combined "extraordinary" language, a plot tinged with mystery and compelling characters, including a Canadian nurse, an Indian bomb-disposal expert, a thief-turned-spy and an aristocratic Hungarian archaeologist.

Shamsie said Ondaatje's novel, published at a time when "borders seemed much more assured," had a different resonance in the current climate, amid "anxieties about borders and anxiety about migrants and other people."

"We've all read lots of books about the Second World War. We think of it, with good reason, as the good war," she said.

"And I think it is really brave and remarkable the way he goes into that story and says war is trauma, and war is about separating people by nations when there are so many other reasons for them to be together," she added.

Founded in 1969, the Man Booker prize was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers, but eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all English-language novelists.
 

Stay up to date on all the latest Books news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp