The 50th Man Booker Prize for Fiction winner is the Irish writer Anna Burns with Milkman. Together with the prize, the winner will receive £50,000 in prize money. It is her third full-length novel and her first major award.
Milkman, set in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, is a coming-of-age story about a young girl's affair with a married man.
As stated by Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Chair of judges, "None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life."
Anna Burns was born in Belfast in 1962. Her debut, No Bones, was published in 2001, and followed by Little Constructions six years later. Her most recent work prior to Milkman was Mostly Hero - a novella published in 2014.
Her characters in Milkman have no names. As explained by the author herself: "The book didn’t work with names. It lost power and atmosphere and turned into a lesser - or perhaps just a different - book. In the early days I tried out names a few times, but the book wouldn’t stand for it. The narrative would become heavy and lifeless and refuse to move on until I took them out again. Sometimes the book threw them out itself."
On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, plus a dramatic increase in book sales. In the week following the 2017 winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders increased by 1227%.
The full list of nominees