Sri Lankan-born Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje’s bestselling novel The English Patient has won the Golden Man Booker Prize as the best out of the fifty-two Booker Prize winning novels from the last fifty years.
The Golden Booker was awarded this year to mark fifty years of the Booker Prize.
Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth were the joint winners of the Booker Prize in 1992. A panel of judges read all 52 winners of the award with each assigned a decade. Five selected books were then put to a public vote.
The English Patient is a story which moves between a story of a nurse tending a severely burned man in an Italian villa at the end of the second world war and the patient’s tragic love affair from the past.
Ondaatje initiated The Gratiaen Prize for best literary work in English by a resident of Sri Lanka, with the money he received as the Booker Prize in 1992.
In 1996, The English Patient was made in to an award-winning film by the late filmmaker Anthony Minghella. Since the BookScan records began in 1998, the novel had sold over 90,000 copies worldwide.
Speaking at the award ceremony in the Southbank Centre, London on Sunday, Ondaatje said that he does not believe that The English Patient is the best book on the list. “Especially when it is placed beside a work by VS Naipaul, one of the masters of our time, or a major work like Wolf Hall.” He said.