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Ondaatje's 'The English Patient' wins Golden Booker Prize

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Sri Lanka-born Canadian literary icon Michael Ondaatje's 'The English Patient' has won the special one-off Golden Man to mark here.

'The English Patient' is a tale of love and conflict during World War II.

The 74-year-old beat the Man Booker Prize's previous 51 winners including Indian-origin V S for his 1971 winner 'In a Free State'; for 'Midnight's Children' (1981), for 'The God of Small Things' (1997); for 'The Inheritance of Loss' (2006); and for 'The White Tiger' (2008).

"Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list or any other list that could have been put together of Booker novels," Ondaatje said at the awards ceremony at London's yesterday.

He said he suspected the 1996 Oscar-winning adaptation of his novel, starring Ralph Fiennes, and Kristen Scott Thomas, probably had something to do with the result of the public vote.

Previously, 'The English Patient' had shared the 1992 with Barry Unsworth's 18th century slave tale 'Sacred Hunger'.

All 51 previous Booker winners were considered by a panel of judges, who whittled them down to one from each decade. The public then voted on their ultimate favourite and settled on Ondaatje's war-time romance.

said it was "that rare novel which gets under your skin".

"It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate one moment you're in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a place a piece of plum in a patient's mouth," she said.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, of the Foundation, added: "It is a compelling work of fiction both poetic and philosophical and is a worthy winner of the Golden Man Booker.

"As we celebrate the prize's 50th anniversary, it is a testament to the impact and legacy of the Man Booker Prize that all of the winning books are still in print. I'm confident that this special book, chosen by the public, will continue to stand the test of time and delight new readers for many more years to come."

is being magnified globally with Man Booker events at international literary festivals across the world.

In 2008, held a similar competition for its 40th anniversary, when the public voted for Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children', which originally won in 1981.

The Golden Booker award marked the end of the Man Booker 50 Festival on the banks of the in

The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active firm.

"The Golden Man Booker celebrates the literary brilliance that the Man Booker Prize has championed over the last five decades, and we are delighted to celebrate the important role it continues to play in inspiring literary endeavour," said

for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by since 2002.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 09 2018. 17:00 IST