US author George Saunders wins Man Booker

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George Saunders

MNA Culture & Entertainment Desk: US author George Saunders on Tuesday became only the second American writer to win Britain’s renowned Man Booker Prize, which was awarded for his first full-length novel “Lincoln in the Bardo”.

Judges for the world’s most prestigious English-language literary award praised as “utterly original” the book that chronicles the death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie using the accounts of hundreds of narrators.

“The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” said Lola Young, chair of the judging panel, in announcing the prize at a ceremony in London.

George Saunders, 58, described the award as a “great honour, which I hope to live up to with the rest of my work, for the rest of my life.”

In a brief, politically-tinged acceptance speech, he made several thinly-veiled references to the controversial policies of US President Donald Trump.

“We live in a strange time,” he told the audience. “In the US now we’re hearing a lot about the need to protect culture. Well, this tonight is culture.”

He later told reporters he was in disbelief and numb at the award.

“For an artist, I think validation is really helpful,” he added.

“My opinion of myself improves a little bit.”

The winner of the Man Booker receives £52,500 ($69,300, 58,800 euros), although the bigger prize is seen as a spike in sales which invariably follow the announcement of the winner.