The English Patientby Michael Ondaatje, set in India among other locations, has been crowned the best work of fiction over the last five decades of the Man Booker Prize, prevailing over VS Naipaul's In A Free State and three works. The victor was revealed at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre in London on Sunday. The writer has won the Booker prize for the English patient in 1992.
The Golden Man Booker, the one-off award marking the Man Booker Prize's 50thanniversary celebrations, was chosen by the public and revealed on Sunday.
Each book represented one of five decades.
The novel - written by Sri-Lankan born Ondaatje in 1992 - tells of the entanglement of four people in an Italian villa, including an English burns victim, as the Second World War ends.
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Ondaatje accepted his award, and then was quoted as saying: "Not for a second do I believe this is the best book on the list - or any other list that could have been put together of Booker novels".
Founded in 1969, the Man Booker prize was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers, but eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all English-language novelists.
The English Patient is a tale on love and conflict and according to Judge Kamila Shamsie, it is a "rare novel which gets under your skin".
Previous "Best of Bookers" surveys - carried out for the award's 25th and 40th anniversaries - were both won by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. "It's intricately and rewardingly structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page", said Shamsie, as reported by the Guardian. "As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the prize, it demonstrates the impact and legacy of the man Booker prize, because all the winning books are still pechatayutsya", said Fund Chairman of the Booker prize Baroness Helena Kennedy. The book was adapted into a 1996 film by Anthony Minghella. "I'm confident that this special book, chosen by the public, will continue to stand the test of time and delight new readers for many more years to come", she said.