Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.
The winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize—a special one-time award marking the Man Booker Prize’s 50th anniversary—was announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London this past weekend. All 51 books that have received a Man Booker Prize were considered by the judges, each of whom chose a specific book to represent one of the past five decades, before a month-long public vote on the Man Booker website was held to pick the winning novel.
The judges were: Robert McCrum, who chose In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul for the 1970s; Lemn Sissay, who chose Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively for the 1980s; Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje for the 1990s; Simon Mayo, who chose Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the 2000s; and Hollie McNish, who chose Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders for the 2010s.
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.” Kennedy noted that all 51 Man Booker Prize winners remain in print, adding, “ 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.”