In September, Mohsin Hamid, Fiona Mozley, Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, George Saunders and Ali Smith were revealed as the six shortlisted writers for the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. First there were 13 and now, as of today (October 17), the Man Booker Prize has found its winner: George Saunders for Lincoln in the Bardo.
As the Texas-born writer’s first full-length novel, Saunders becomes the second American author to earn the recognition in Man Booker’s 49-year existence. Saunders, the well-known writer behind several short story collections including Tenth of December and In Persuasion Nation, follows American novelist and Columbia University associate professor Paul Beatty, who claimed the award in October 2016 for his novel, The Sellout.
“The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” remarked 2017 Man Booker Prize Chairman of Judges Lola Young, Baroness Young of Hornsey in regards to the 58-year-old author’s first novel effort. “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.”
The novel recalls the days following the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie Lincoln, who has just been laid to rest in a cemetery. Saunder’s use of grief and loss is translated impeccably throughout the book as Abraham reflects on his son’s life, death and legacy, and the ever-looming of presence of war.
— Man Booker Prize (@ManBookerPrize) October 17, 2017