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Everything you need to know about Anna Burns' Milkman, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2018

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Anna Burns’ experimental third novel, Milkman, has earned the novelist the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  She is the first Northern Irish author to ever obtain the award.

Five decades ago, P. H. Newby was the first recipient of the Booker Prize, for his 1968 novel, Something To Answer For.  Since then, the award (renamed the Man Booker Prize in 2002) has become the most paramount and prestigious celebration of fiction, and has seen the likes of Margaret Atwood, Kiran Desai and Roddy Doyle all becoming renowned alumni over the past 50 years. 

Following in the footsteps of previous winners is Anna Burns, who’s seminal work of fiction, ‘Milkman’, has won the 2018 edition of the prize.  The celebrated book - the Belfast-born novelist's third - follows an anonymous 18-year-old woman being sexually harassed by a tyrannical older male – the title character, the milkman.

Furiously original and catastrophically thought-provoking, ‘Milkman’ has charmed critics and the Man Booker Prize’s chair of judges with its brutality, frank honesty and its acerbic humour.

When announcing Burns as the recipient of the award (alongside a cool £50,000), philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah said “Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose… None of us has ever read anything like this before.”  She was given the award by The Duchess Of Cornwall. 

As well as being nominated as a “viciously funny” (The Telegraph) read, ‘Milkman’ has allowed the 56-year-old author to make history, by becoming the first Northern Irish novelist to become a recipient of the Man Booker Prize.   

While the award has previously been accredited to writers from South Africa, Germany, Jamaica, Japan and Ireland, Burns is the first Northern Irish author to receive the Man Booker prize.  Floodgates for her recognition will now be opened on an international scale, while sales of ‘The Milkman’ are expected to dramatically arise over the next year.  Things are looking pretty sweet for Burns.

Milkman by Anna Burns is published by Faber & Faber.  The company has the second highest number (six) of Man Booker Prize winners under its belt, including Something To Answer For (1969), Oscar & Lucinda (1988) and Vernon God Little (2003).

Royal Mail are due to mark the occasion by releasing a postmark congratulating Burns on her Man Booker win.  

For more information on the Man Booker Prize, Anna Burns and ‘Milkman’, click here.

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