Man Booker Prize 2018
NI Connections
Mon 24 February

Anna Burns wins Man Booker Prize

Belfast born Anna becomes the first author from Northern Ireland to win.

Anna's novel Milkman, set in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, is a coming-of-age story about a young girl's affair with a married man.

Anna who was born in Ardoyne, Belfast and lives in East Sussex, drew on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to write Milkman. Her first acclaimed novel, No Bones, was also set during the troubles.

She is the 17th female winner in the prize’s history, although Milkman is her third novel, this is her first major prize.

None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Chair of judges

In the book, the characters have designations rather than names. When interviewed for the Man Booker Prize website, Anna said: ‘The book didn’t work with names. It lost power and atmosphere and turned into a lesser or perhaps just a different book. In the early days I tried out names a few times, but the book wouldn’t stand for it. The narrative would become heavy and lifeless and refuse to move on until I took them out again. Sometimes the book threw them out itself’.

Anna told Radio 4's Today programme the £50,000 prize would be life-changing.

"I'll pay my debts," she said. "It will make a huge monetary difference and I will become solvent and live on what's left.

"Writers don't earn a lot of money so that's a huge gift that's been given to me,"

Latest Articles

Our free monthly newsletter brings you the latest news from Northern Ireland