'The English Patient' voted best Man Booker Prize novel

Eleanor Catton

The English Patient, by Sri Lankan-born Canadian literary icon Michael Ondaatje, has won the Golden Man Booker Prize.

The Golden Man Booker, the one-off award marking the Man Booker Prize's 50thanniversary celebrations, was chosen by the public and revealed on Sunday.

He also said he suspected the Oscar-winning adaptation starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Kristen Scott Thomas "probably had something to do with the result of this vote".

At the end of may, the jury selected five best books of the 51 who received the Pulitzer prize.

In 2008, the Booker Prize held a similar competition for its 40th anniversary. The victor was revealed at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London on Sunday.

The list even included "Moon tiger", Penelope lively, 1987, "Wolf hall", Hilary Mantel, 2009, "Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders, "In a free state" Vidyadhara Napola.

Speaking about why she had chosen The English Patient, Miss Shamsie said: '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.


"The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction - both poetic and philosophical - and is a worthy victor of the Golden Man Booker", said Baroness Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation.

The prize was founded in 1968 and the first victor was named in 1969.

The novel won the 1992 Booker Prize and the 1992 Governor General's Award.

"The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction - both poetic and philosophical", Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, said in a statement.

Ondaatje's novel, set during World War II, tells the story of four damaged people brought together in an Italian villa: a severely burned and morphine-addicted man, the young Canadian nurse who tends to him, a former intelligence operative, and a Sikh bomb-disposal expert.

Two of the five books nominated were published by Bloomsbury, which will be hoping for related sales boost.

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