Milkman author Anna Burns wins the Man Booker Prize.

Despite all the bookies odds indicating Daisy Johnson would become the youngest ever winner with Everything Under, Anna Burns has triumphed with Milkman, becoming the first author from Northern Ireland to do so. She was awarded the £50,000 prize by the Duchess of Cornwall in front of the nation’s gathered literati, some  of whom attended the event at the Guildhall, London expecting the bookies to be proved right.

Studio UK magazine editor Eddie Saint-Jean rushed to Foyles to join the post-Man Booker browsers seeking out the work of all the shortlisted authors. The Milkman’s pink sunset cover took pride of place in the centre of the bookshop’s foyer – all copies signed by the author.

In the opening chapter the teenage girl innocently reading Ivanhoe while walking home leads you into a world where there are few names to identify anyone or anything and the atmosphere of secrecy and silence is punctuated only by its polar  opposite – gossip.

The author has given her an original (sometimes rambling) voice which comes forth like a stream of consciousness. Phew! At times it’s hard to keep up with the tumbling rhythm of her words which perfectly fit the characterisation and her account of sectarian life during the Troubles and dealing with unrequited male attention. It’s a brave and original literary approach.  

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