'The English Patient' voted best Man Booker Prize winner

Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton said the point about male protagonists was “definitely true” Credit Heathcliff O'Malley

Michael Ondaatje, famous for his work on The English Patient, won the Golden Man Booker Prize at a festival, marking the 50 anniversary of the literary award. Four years later, it was made into a feature film that swept the Oscars - winning nine awards including Best Picture.

The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. "The English Patient", which follows the lives of four characters brought together during World War II, told through the morphine-affected memories of a severely burned patient, was a Booker Prize victor in 1992.

"The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction - both poetic and philosophical", Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, said in a statement.

The judges were: Robert McCrum, who chose In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul for the 1970s;Lemn Sissay, who chose Moon Tigerby Penelope Lively for the 1980s;Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje for the 1990s;Simon Mayo, who chose Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the noughties; and Hollie McNish, who chose Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders for the 2010s.

Each book represented one of five decades.

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The Golden Booker competition was held this year to mark the award's 50-year anniversary, with a panel of judges to mark a half-century of the prize.

The five selected novels were then put to a public vote. He paid tribute to the late "The English Patient" film director, Anthony Minghella, "who I suspect had something to do with the result of this vote".

"The English Patient is that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight", said the novelist.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: "It is a compelling work of fiction - both poetic and philosophical - and is a worthy victor of the Golden Man Booker".

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