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The Winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is…

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Article by Derek Flynn © 14 October 2014.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

man booker 2014Richard Flanagan has been announced as the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, published by Chatto & Windus. Click here to see the full list of nominees.

The Tasmanian-born author is the third Australian to win the coveted prize which, for the first time in its 46-year history, is now expanded to include entries from writers of all nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK. He joins an impressive literary canon of former winners including fellow Australians Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) and Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001).

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the sixth novel from Richard Flanagan, who drafted it at least 5 times over 12 years. It centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. The Financial Times calls it ‘elegantly wrought, measured and without an ounce of melodrama… nothing short of a masterpiece.’

Named after a famous Japanese book by the haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is described by the 2014 judges as ‘a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it’. Questioning the meaning of heroism, the book explores what motivates acts of extreme cruelty and shows that perpetrators may be as much victims as those they abuse. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.

Richard Flanagan was announced as the 2014 winner by AC Grayling, Chair of judges, at an awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, which was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel. Flanagan was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group. The investment management firm has sponsored the prize since 2002.

In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, Flanagan also receives a designer bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.

The Man Booker Prize brings international recognition and a dramatic increase in book sales. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, have exceeded a million copies in their UK editions, published by Fourth Estate. Her novels have subsequently been adapted for stage and screen, with the highly acclaimed theatre productions of both novels arriving on Broadway in April 2015. Granta, publisher of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 winner, The Luminaries, has sold 300,000 copies of the book in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.


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Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie's SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in 'Surge', an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03