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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

A book about a prisoner-of-war camp won the Booker Prize last night

Richard Flanagan is the third Australian to win the prestigious award.

AUSTRALIAN WRITER RICHARD Flanagan has won this year’s Man Booker prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Man Booker prize 2014 Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

He is the third Australian to win the prestigious prize, which this year was thrown open to include all books written in English which are published in the UK.

Judges described his novel as “a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it”.

The book centres on the experiences of a surgeon in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp on the infamous Thailand-Burma railway. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished the book, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.

It is the sixth novel from Flanagan, who is considered to be one of Australia’s finest novelists.

The award was handed out at a ceremony in London last night.

“The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war,” said philosopher AC Grayling, the chair of the judging panel.

“Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilty and heroism”.

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The award usually gives a strong boost in sales to the winner. Last year’s winner, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, has sold almost 500,000 copies worldwide.

Flanagan beat off competition from five other writers, including Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and Howard Jacobson for J.

The two previous Australian winners are Thomas Kenneally for Schindler’s Ark in 1982 and Peter Carey for Oscar and Lucinda in 1988 and also The True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.

Read: Tesco are giving out free prawn sandwiches with copies of Roy Keane’s book > 

Read: Eleanor Catton becomes the youngest ever winner of the Booker Prize > 

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Christine Bohan

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