George Saunders Wins 2017 Man Booker Prize for ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’
London, Oct 18: American author George Saunders has won the prestigious 2017 Man Booker Prize for his fiction Lincoln in the Bardo, which is a polyphonic symphony of a novel about restless souls adrift in the afterlife. “The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” said Baroness Lola Young while announcing the prize. Young also said that the fiction stood out of all the entries “because of its innovation, its very different styling; the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these almost dead souls, not quite dead souls, this other world.”
Judges of the Man Booker Prize praised Saunders and his “utterly original” novel Lincoln in the Bardo which chronicles the death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie using over 100 narrators. It is based on a real visit former US President Abraham Lincoln made in 1862 to the body of his son in a Washington cemetery.
58-year-old Saunders described the prize as “great honour, which I hope to live up to with the rest of my work, for the rest of my life”. “For me, the nice thing is that the book is hard, and it’s kind of weird and it’s not a traditional novel,” Saunders said, adding, “I didn’t do it just to be fancy, but because there was this emotional core I could feel, and that form was the only way I could get to it.” Saunders was awarded the prize by Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at London’s Guildhall.
Saunders has previously won the Folio Prize for his darkly funny story collection Tenth of December in 2014. The other nominations for the 2017 Man Booker Prize include: Paul Auster’s 4321; Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves; Ali Smith’s Autumn; Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West; and Fiona Mozley’s Elmet.