George Saunders wins the Man Booker prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders wins the Man Booker prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo
# 17 October 2017 22:55 (UTC +04:00)

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, APA reports quoting BBC.

It is the first full-length novel from Saunders, previously best known for his short stories, and is set in a graveyard, over a single night.

The book tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's grief after the death of his young son, and his visits to his tomb.

The Duchess of Cornwall presented his trophy at London's Guildhall.

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.

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.

He based the story on a real moment in 1862 when the body of 11-year-old Willie was taken to a cemetery in Washington DC.

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judging panel, said the form of the "utterly original novel" - which includes voices of souls in the graveyard - "reveals a witty, intelligent and deeply moving narrative".

It took five hours of deliberations before the panel, also including novelist Sarah Hall, artist Tom Phillips, literary critic Lila Azam Zanganeh and the travel writer Colin Thubron, made their unanimous decision.

"This really stood out because of its innovation - its very different styling and the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these not-quite-dead souls in this other world," said Baroness Young.

"There was this juxtaposition of the very personal tragedy of Abraham Lincoln with his public life, as the person who'd really instigated the American Civil War."

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