Aussie writer Richard Flanagan pips Neel Mukherjee to win man Booker prize 2014


LONDON: Australia writer Richard Flanagan’s novel described as a ‘harrowing account of war’ won the 2014 man booker prize for fiction, pipping the bookies favourite Indian-origin Neel Mukherjee and four other writers for one of the English literary world’s most prestigious prizes.
Flanagan’s novel, the Narrow Road to the Deep North’s is partly based on his father’s experiences of being a prisoner of war of Japanese, and describes harrowing stories of prisoners and captors on the Burma railway.
Chair of the judging panel, AC grayling, said: ‘’ The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism. This is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write.’’
Mukherjee’s the Lives of other’, a sweeping account of life in 1960s Calcutta, was the bookies favourite to win the prize.
Flanagan hugged the Duchess of Cornwall as he received the award at a black tie dinner at the Guildhall in London. He joked: “In Australia the Man Booker Prize is sometimes seen as something of a chicken raffle. I just didn’t except to end up the chicken.
“I grew up, as did my five siblings, as children of the death Railway. We carried many incommunicable things and I realised at a certain point…that I would have to write this book,” he added. His father died aged 98 when he completed the novel.
The 50,000 euro prize money, Flanagan said, would be spent on ‘life’, as he was not wealthy and had until recently considered trying to get work in the mines of northern Australia. “This prize money means I can continue to be a writer,” he said.
Flanagan is the third Australian to win the prize, after Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) and Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001).