Paul Lynch who is an Irish author won the 2023 Booker prize for his fifth novel ‘Prophet Song’ beating London-based Indian-origin author Chetna Maroo’s debut novel “Western Lane”, at a ceremony in London last night. After being honoured with the award. The novel, Lynch’s fifth, seeks to show the unrest in Western democracies and their indifference towards disasters such as the implosion of Syria. The author receives £50,000 and was presented with his trophy.
About the novel
The storyline of the book is set in imagined future Ireland that descends into oppressive rule. The story suggests that civil war leads to families’ fleeing Ireland. The story centres on alternate Dublin where members of the newly formed secret police, established by a government proceed towards totalitarianism. The protagonist Eilish is a microbiologist who looks after her four children and her elderly father amid civil war following disappearance of her husband. Eilish’s husband, a senior official in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland goes into hiding when secret police knocks at their door.
Booker prize is an award given each year to the best novel. The prize is given to an English language novel. The book should have been published in Ireland or the United Kingdom.
From 1969 to 2001, the Booker Prize was known as the Booker Prize for Fiction. Then, from 2002 to 2019, it was known as Man Booker Prize, and currently, it is commonly known as Booker Prize.
During the early days, when the Booker prize was just introduced, novels written by only Commonwealth (54 member states), Irish, and South Africans were allowed to participate. Though later they allowed Zimbabwe as well. It was only in 2014, that all the English language novels are allowed to participate in the Booker Prize awards.
The winner of the Booker Prize award is decided by a seven-member panel including authors, librarians, publishers, booksellers, and literary agents. Booker Prize Foundation appoints these members of the panel. The winner of the Booker Prize award receives a lot of fame which leads to an increase in its sales. The Booker Prize is considered to be a high-profile literary award. It is a matter of pride for writers to even get selected in the nominations of Booker Prize. Before declaring the winner, there is a ‘longlist’ made by the authorities and then from that, a shortlist is made and a winner is selected from the shortlist. Apart from the Booker Prize, there is another award known as the International Booker Prize. This award is an international literary award and is also hosted in the United Kingdom. To qualify to participate in this award, the book should be translated into English language and should have been published in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The International Booker Prize was first given in 2004 and from 2005 to 2015 it was given once every two years. Then, from 2016, it has now been given to one book every year. The winners for the Booker Prize are generally announced in October, November.
Recent ‘Booker Prize winners at a Glance
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka won Britain’s Booker Prize for fiction for his work The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, about a journalist murdered amid the country’s sectarian strife.
“My hope for Seven Moons is this… that in the not-so-distant future… that it is read in a Sri Lanka that has understood that these ideas of corruption and race-baiting and cronyism have not worked and will never work,” he said. “I hope it’s in print in 10 years but if it is, I hope it’s written in (a) Sri Lanka that learns from its stories, and that Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookshop… next to the dragons, the unicorns (and) will not be mistaken for realism or political satire,” he added.
The winner of the Booker Prize 2021 was Damon Galgut for the novel, ‘The Promise’. The winner was announced on 3rd November 2021. Damon Galgut got 50,000 euros as prize money. Damon Galgut is a South African origin writer and playwright. Some of the famous works are, ‘The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs’, ‘The Quarry’, ‘The Good Doctor. His book, ‘In a Strange Room’ was earlier shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2010. Apart from the Booker Prize, he has won other prizes for his works such as ‘Commonwealth Writers Prize’, ‘Barry Ronge Fiction Prize’, etc.
The Booker Prize for 2020 was won by Douglas Stuart for his book ‘Shuggie Bain’. The announcement was made on 19th November 2020 and he received 50,000 euros as prize money. Douglas Stuart is a Scottish-American fashion designer and writer. Shuggie Bain was his debut book meaning that he had written no book in the past. Till now, only two Scottish writers have received the Booker Prize award including Stuart. The prize ceremony of Booker Prize of 2020 was an exception due to Covid; all writers marked their presence virtually.
For the first time in the history of the Booker Prize, the award was given to two authors Jointly. The Booker Prize 2019 was won by Margaret Atwood for her book ‘The Testaments’ and by Bernardine Evaristo for the book ‘Girl, Woman, Other’. Margaret Atwood belongs to Canada and is a novelist, poet, literary critic, environmental activist. She has written in different genres like non-fiction, children’s books, graphic novels, etc. Bernardine Evaristo is a British academician and an author. She is the founder of ‘The Brunel International African Poetry Award’.