Published on Submitted by Leah on Tue, 2014-10-14 22:49
Strictly embargoed until 10pm, Tuesday 14 October 2014
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
the 2014 Man Booker Prize
Richard Flanagan is tonight, Tuesday 14 October, announced as the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, published by Chatto & Windus.
The Tasmanian-born author is the third Australian to win the coveted prize which, for the first time in its 46-year history, is now expanded to include entries from writers of all nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK. He joins an impressive literary canon of former winners including fellow Australians Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) and Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001).
The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the sixth novel from Richard Flanagan, who is considered by many to be one of Australia’s finest novelists. It centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. The Financial Times calls it ‘elegantly wrought, measured and without an ounce of melodrama… nothing short of a masterpiece.’
Named after a famous Japanese book by the haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is described by the 2014 judges as ‘a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it’. Questioning the meaning of heroism, the book explores what motivates acts of extreme cruelty and shows that perpetrators may be as much victims as those they abuse. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.
Richard Flanagan was announced as the 2014 winner by AC Grayling, Chair of judges, at an awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, which was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel. Flanagan was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group. The investment management firm has sponsored the prize since 2002.
AC Grayling comments: ‘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.’
In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, Flanagan also receives a designer bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.
On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, not to mention a dramatic increase in book sales. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, have exceeded a million copies in their UK editions, published by Fourth Estate. Her novels have subsequently been adapted for stage and screen, with the highly acclaimed theatre productions of both novels arriving on Broadway in April 2015. Granta, publisher of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 winner, The Luminaries, has sold 300,000 copies of the book in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.
AC Grayling, philosopher and author, was joined on the 2014 panel of judges by: Jonathan Bate, Oxford Professor of English Literature and biographer; Sarah Churchwell, UEA’s Professor of American Literature; Daniel Glaser, neuroscientist and cultural commentator; Alastair Niven, former Director of Literature at the British Council and at the Arts Council, and Erica Wagner, former literary editor and writer.
Richard Flanagan will take part in his first public event as winner of the prize at the Apple Store, Regent Street, on Thursday 16 October: http://www.apple.com/uk/retail/regentstreet/
To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, learn more about its history and share your thoughts online, visit:
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Katy MacMillan-Scott or Ellie Hughes at Four Colman Getty
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North
By Richard Flanagan
Published by Chatto & Windus (£16.99)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a love story unfolding over half a century between a doctor and his uncle’s wife. Taking its title from one of the most famous books in Japanese literature, written by the great haiku poet Basho, Flanagan’s novel has as its heart one of the most infamous episodes of Japanese history, the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
Born in Tasmania in July 1961, Richard Flanagan is one of Australia’s leading novelists. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize), The Unknown Terrorist and Wanting have received numerous honours and been published in 26 countries. His father, who died the day Flanagan finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway. He lives in Tasmania.
Notes to Editors
Tel: 0207 840 8677, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Title (Imprint)
Joshua Ferris (US) To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Richard Flanagan (Australian) The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
Karen Joy Fowler (US) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent's Tail)
Howard Jacobson (British) J (Jonathan Cape)
Neel Mukherjee (British) The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
Ali Smith (British) How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)
This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change year on year. Any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize remains eligible
Ion Trewin- Chair, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation; Richard Cable- publisher, Random House; Mark Chilton- Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Basil Comely - BBC TV; James Daunt- Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas- Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson - writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns- Non-executive Chairman, Granta; Peter Kemp- Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton- publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco- literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Emmanuel Roman- Chief Executive, Man; Eve Smith- Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Robert Topping - Topping & Company Booksellers
Man Group is an investment management business with a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products across equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager solutions. At 30 June 2014, Man managed $ 57.7 billion. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £2.1 billion. Further information can be found at www.man.com.
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