Michael Ondaatje, famous for his work on The English Patient, won the Golden Man Booker Prize at a festival, marking the 50th anniversary of the literary award. The 74-year-old swept past the previous winners, a list of 51, including VS Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga.
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". 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."
Ondaatje added that he thinks that the Oscar-winning film, which is based on his book had a “something to do with the result of this vote". The English Patient had starred Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, and Kristen Scott.
The English Patient is now judged as the best book of the last 50 years since its release. However, in 1992, it shared the award with Sacred Hunger, by Barry Unsworth, per reports. In 2008, a similar competition was held on the book’s 40th anniversary, but Salman Rushdie won the public votes with Midnight’s Children.