Author Anna Burns has became the first Northern Irish writer, and the first woman since 2013, to win Britain’s renowned Man Booker Prize for her novel “Milkman”.
Judges of the annual award praised the work, an exploration of Northern Ireland’s three decades of sectarian violence told through the voice of a young woman, as “utterly distinctive”.
“None of us has ever read anything like this before,” said Kwame Anthony Appiah, chair of the 2018 judges, in announcing the winner.
“Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose.”
The 56-year-old is the first woman in five years to land the most prestigious English-language literary prize, after Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner, at the age of 28, in 2013.
Burns trumped English debut novelist and British bookmakers’ late favourite Daisy Johnson – at 27, the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker – for her novel Everything Under.
She also triumphed over longtime frontrunner Richard Powers, who had been tipped to make it three successive wins for US writers with his tree-themed novel The Overstory.