18 October 2011
Bookies’ favourite, Julian Barnes, triumphs with Man Booker Prize win
Julian Barnes is tonight (Tuesday 18 October) named the winner of this year’s £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Sense of an Ending, published by Jonathan Cape.
London-based Barnes has been the bookies’ favourite to win since the shortlist announcement on 6 September. The source of the description of the prize as ‘posh bingo’, Barnes has been shortlisted three times in the past for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984).
Barnes’ first novel for six years, The Sense of an Ending went straight into the bestseller list on publication. It is the story of a seemingly ordinary man who, when revisiting his past in later life, discovers that the memories he holds are less than perfect. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity and insight, this is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers. At the time of the shortlist announcement, 2011 judge Gaby Wood commented: ‘that the tragedy trapped in this mundane life should be so moving, and so keenly felt by the character that he can only confront it half-blindly and in fragments, is the mark of a truly masterful novel.’
The Sense of an Ending is the eighth Man Booker Prize winner to be published by Jonathan Cape, a Random House imprint.
Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 judges, made the announcement at the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, broadcast by the BBC. Jon Aisbitt, Chairman of Man, presented Julian Barnes with a cheque for £50,000.
She comments: ‘Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading.’
Over and above his prize of £50,000, Julian Barnes can expect to bring The Sense of an Ending to wider audiences around the world who follow the winners of the Man Booker Prize. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.
The judging panel for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Dame Stella Rimington (Chair), author and former Director-General M15; writer and journalist, Matthew d’Ancona; author, Susan Hill; author and politician, Chris Mullin and Head of Books at the Daily Telegraph, Gaby Wood.
Sales of the books shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize have been the highest selling since records began. Sales of the novels are up 127% year-on-year and up 105% on the previous record in 2009.
The Sense of an Ending
Published by Jonathan Cape (£12.99)
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
Julian Barnes is the author of ten previous novels, three books of short stories and three collections of journalism. Now 65, his work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2004 and the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2011 for his lifetime achievement in literature. Julian Barnes has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times previously, for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984). He lives in London.