Published: Thu, October 17, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo share Booker Prize 2019

Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo share Booker Prize 2019

The New York Times reported that Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have both won this year's Booker Prize after the judges for the literary award rebelled against its rules.

It means Atwood and Evaristo will split the 50,000 pound ($63,000) Booker Prize purse.

The prolific Atwood had already received a Booker in 2000 for her novel "The Blind Assassin", and with this latest triumph she has become the fourth person and the second woman to receive the award twice, along with Hilary Mantel, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Cary.

Atwood won the award for "The Testaments", her blockbuster follow-up to "The Handmaid's Tale", while Evaristo won for Girl, Woman, Other.

The judges chose to announce two winners, despite a rule change in 1993 which insisted only one author could win the prize.

The bleak dystopian "The Handmaid's Tale", where women are banned from reading and writing and those that are fertile are forced into sexual servitude, was itself nominated for the Booker Prize.

Atwood expressed her pleasure at sharing the award with a youthful author.

Atwood won for The Testaments, the Canadian author's sequel to the The Handmaid's Tale set in the fictional republic of Gilead.

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The tragicomedy, inspired by the classic "Don Quixote", is the story of an ageing travelling salesman who falls in love with a TV star and sets off to drive across America on a quest to prove himself worthy of her hand.

Florence, founder and director of the Hay Competition and Chair of the Booker Prize judging panel this yr, said: "The identical old thread is our admiration for the extraordinary ambition of every of those books". Another previous victor, British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie, and Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma made up the final six. Except for the Booker judges and few of her associates, no one could lay their hands on it.

"It's so incredible to share this with Margaret Atwood, who's such a legend and so generous", she mentioned, after the shock joint win was introduced. Wood checked with the foundation 's flesh, Helena Kennedy, who said they could not.The jurors regrouped for another hour and asked again.

Peter Florence, chair of the judges, told reporters: "It was our decision to flout the rules". "I hope other people come forward now".

Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other follows a dozen characters-mostly British and black-as they make their way through lives, negotiating the multiple mazes of colour, fluidity of gender and patriarchy.

The other Booker-shortlisted novels were Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport; Chigozie Obioma's An Orchestra of Minorities;Salman Rushdie's Quichotte; and Elif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World. "These books both have something urgent to say and they also happen to be wonderfully compelling page-turning thrillers, which I think can speak to the most literary audience, as well as to readers who are only reading one book, or in this case two books, a year".

The Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and revealed within the United Kingdom or Eire.

This year's shortlist featured six novelists - four of them women - born across four continents.

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