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Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient wins the Golden Booker Prize

11 July 2018

Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient" was named the greatest-ever victor of the Man Booker Prize at an event Sunday celebrating five decades of the prestigious literary award.

The Canadian writer's book, which tells a tale of love and conflict during World War II, was awarded the Golden Man Booker Prize for fiction after winning a month-long public vote. As if that prize wasn't enough, Ondaatje's novel was famously adapted into a 1996 film starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche that went on to win multiple Oscars.

A panel of judges selected five books from among the 51 winners of the Booker, a prize that has boosted the careers of writers such as Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy and Kazuo Ishiguro.

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The victor of the special one-off competition held to mark the Man Booker Prize's 50th anniversary celebrations was chosen by the public.

The Golden Booker award marked the end of the Man Booker 50 Festival on the banks of the river Thames in London. The Golden Man Booker victor was revealed at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre.

The other shortlisted books for the Golden Man Booker were V.S. Naipaul's "In a Free State", Penelope Lively's "Moon Tiger", Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and George Saunders' "Lincoln in the Bardo", the only American novel to be named a finalist. "Ms. Shamsie said in a statement, "'The English Patient' is that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight".

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"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", she said. The English Patient shared the Man Booker Prize with Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth.

"Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative".

The prize was founded in 1968 and the first victor was named in 1969. Ondaatje's "The English Patient" also won a Governor General's Literary Award. "This one does." Booker Prize Foundation chairman Helena Kennedy said the story was "a compelling work of fiction".

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His latest novel is "Warlight", which was released in May and follows two siblings separated from their parents in London in 1945.

Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient wins the Golden Booker Prize