Congratulations to George Saunders who has been named the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction!
Lincoln in the Bardo is the first novel from Saunders, who is internationally renowned for his short stories, and it is an extraordinary work.
As the American Civil War rages, President Lincoln’s beloved 11-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body. From this seed of historical truth, Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying.
Chair of 2017 judges, Baroness Lola Young, writes: ‘The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative. This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.’
Alongside Lincoln in the Bardo, the shortlist included 4321 by Paul Auster, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders and Autumn by Ali Smith.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a £50,000 prize literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK.