Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Australian author Richard Flanagan wins Booker

Richard Flanagan has won 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 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 centres on the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the infamous Thailand-Burma railway.

Named after a book by the Japanese haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North was 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.

The novel bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism that will be of interest throughout Asia, as well as in London, Sydney and New York.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rosie, I am looking forward to reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North, particularly because Richard Flanagan wrote it as a tribute to his father who was a prisoner on the Thai-Burma railway. My own book, Bamboo Heart, published by Monsoon Books, which you featured in your '500 words' in May this year was inspired by researching my own father's experience as a POW on the railway. My book has not won the Booker prize, but the motivations behind it are similar. There are other books, too by children of Far East Prisoners of War which seek to do the same thing. Writing it and researching Bamboo Heart was a way of making sense of the cruelty and suffering of those years. It also has given me a love of Thailand and South East Asia, and a wish to keep coming back,


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