The Man Booker Prize
Presenting the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2017 Winner:
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Acclaimed short story writer George Saunders emerged victorious this year as 2017’s winner of The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Britain’s leading literary award for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. His win represents the second American writer to claim the Prize since eligibility was broadened in 2014 to include any English-language novel.
A huge bookseller favourite for us since its publication last year, Lincoln in the Bardo marked the debut of George Saunders as a novelist. The book is a wild, audacious revelry, following a grief-wracked Abraham Lincoln into the spiritual underworld as he wrestles for the soul of his dead son Willie. This afterlife – this ‘bardo’ – forms the stage for a phantasmagoria of bizarre ghouls and spirits, each testing Lincoln’s sorrow.
You can read more from this most extraordinary (and most humane) of writers over on our Waterstones blog, where, exclusively for our website, he introduces Congratulations, by the way, a college speech that later went viral, indeed popular enough to warrant its own publication.
Beginning with the wit and writings of Mark Twain, and running though the subsequent work of authors such as Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut, Saunders belongs to that fine tradition of liberal American writers simply born to question the status quo. His upcoming collection of essays The Brain-Dead Megaphone will be published on Thursday 2 November.
The Man Booker Shortlist 2017
The third of the longlist’s debuts, Fiona Mozley’s affecting Elmet is very much a mirror of modern England; told through the eyes of his children, a father falls into conflict with landowners over the Yorkshire copse they have called home. This is a tale the judges have described as “a hugely potent story about aspects of hidden England,” where life is lived at the extreme margins of law and society, written with enormous lyricism on both family and landscape.
The Man Booker Longlist 2017