The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje won the Golden Man Booker as best work of fiction from the last five decades of the Man Booker Prize. The winner, which was revealed yesterday at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, was chosen by the public. All 51 previous Booker winners had been considered by a panel of five judges, each of whom was asked to read the winning novels from one decade of the prize's history, before the books faced a month-long public vote on the Man Booker website.
Judge Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient as her winner of the 1990s, called it "that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight. 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 nurse place a piece of plum in a patient's mouth. That movement is mirrored in the way your thoughts, while reading it, move between large themes--war, loyalty, love--to tiny shifts in the relationships between characters. It's intricately (and rewardingly) structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page. Ondaatje's imagination acknowledges no borders as it moves between Cairo, Italy, India, England, Canada--and between deserts and villas and bomb craters. And through all this, he makes you fall in love with his characters, live their joys and their sorrows. Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative. This one does."
Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, described The English Patient as "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's 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."
The seven shortlisted titles for the £5,000 (about $6,645) Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018, which celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and U.K. travel, are:
The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell
Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler
Outskirts by John Grindrod
The Dun Cow Rib by John Lister-Kaye
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn