George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo – becoming the second US author to take home the £50,000 fiction award.
Saunders, 58, was one of six authors shortlisted for the prestigious award, alongside British writers Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, fellow Americans Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund, and British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.
Lincoln in the Bardo tells the story of those visits, from the point of view of the ghosts who haunt the graveyard in which Willie is buried. The novel’s narration switches from ghost to ghost with little warning, and there are so many ghosts — 166, to be exact — that this is at first bewildering and disorienting and then becomes an exhilarating delight.
Speaking after his name was announced, Saunders said: “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.”
The Texas-born author, who lives in New York, has previously won the Folio Prize and Story Prize for his short story collection Tenth of December. Lincoln in the Bardo is his ninth book, and had been the favourite to win the Booker.
The Duchess of Cornwall presented his trophy at London’s Guildhall.
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