Anna Burns has become the first winner of the Man Booker Prize from Northern Ireland. Her novel, Milkman, is set in an unnamed Northern Irish city during the Troubles and tells a story about a young girl’s affair with a married man.
Burns was said to be “stunned” to win the £50,000 highly acclaimed award. Milkman is her fourth novel and was proceeded by No Bones, Little Constructions and Mostly Hero. The interesting thing about her novel, Milkman, is the choice to not include names in the novel – the narrator refers to herself as “Middle Sister”. Burns said that this was to do with “a lack of safety of being straightforward in the book and declaring who you are”.
Burns beat competition including the youngest ever nominee, 27-year-old Daisy Johnson and her novel Everything Under, Robin Robertson’s The Long Take, Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, and Richard Powers’ The Overstory.
The judges commended Burns on her “distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist”.
Click on the link below to watch Burns’ reaction to winning the prestigious award: