George Saunders wins Man Booker Prize for ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’
This year’s Man Booker Prize goes to American Author George Saunders for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. The story which unfolds in a cemetery, is a fictional account of US President Abraham Lincoln burying his young son.
The judging panel, led by author and member of Britain’s House of Lords Lola Young, appreciated the “deeply moving” book and mentioned that it was “utterly original”.
“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 Lola Young, chair of this year’s Booker Prize judging panel. “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.”
Saunders, in his acceptance speech said, “we live in a strange time”. He elaborated that he sees the key question the era is facing as whether society responded to events with “exclusion and negative projection and violence,” or “with love.”
Saunders said the novel had been in his heart for 20 years before he wrote it, reported by BBC.
The Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Britain’s Prince William gave him the award.
It is the maiden full-length novel from the American author, who is well-known for his short stories. Saunders is the second consecutive American writer to win the prize after the rules were changed in 2014 to allow authors of any nationality writing in English and publishing in the UK. Earlier only novels written by authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations could participate.
His novel is a blend of historical accounts and imaginative fiction, which sees Lincoln’s son Willie, who died in the White House at age 11, in “Bardo” – a Tibetan form of purgatory.
Last year, American Paul Beatty had become the first American to win the award, for his novel “The Sellout,” a biting satire on race relations in the United States.
pic credits: BBC