This past night, Anna Burns has become the first Norman-winning pen of the Man Booker prize, thanks to her original portrait of the atmosphere of oppression in the era of troubles, the sectarian conflict that bled Ulster for three decades. His experimental novel Milkman, narrated from the perspective of a teenager, has imposed on the other five finalists of the most prestigious literary award in the United Kingdom, which in this edition decided to prioritize emerging talent against more established names.
Born in Belfast (1962), although resident in England for the last three decades, Burns situates the narration of his third novel in Ulster in the 70s of the last century, where the pressure of tribalism, religion and patriarchy led to live in permanent fear. The sinister Milkman of the title (lechero, in Spanish) refers to the nickname of the prominent member of a paramilitary group that forces the unnamed protagonist of the novel to establish a non-consensual relationship. An approach that, according to the president of the jury, Kwame Anthony Appiah, presents the resonances of the #MeToo movement.
Finalist of the Orange Award in 2002 with his debut novel Do not Bones, also set in the time of the troubles, the author returns to the recent past of the province with the Booker winning book. In Milkman no specific location is identified, although the criticism has taken for granted that it is Belfast. The author herself has recognized that the work is inspired by her past experience, "in the place that I grew up, plagued by violence, distrust and paranoia and inhabited by people who tried to survive in that world as best they could".
Burns is one of the four women who, along with two other male colleagues, opted in this edition for a prize worth 50,000 pounds and which seeks to its winner the important publicity echoes of the Booker. His election, decided with the unanimity of the jury, has been a surprise. The favorite of the pools was the English Daisy Johnson, the youngest contender in the history of the award of the hand of his novel with echoes of Greek tragedy about the turbulent relationship between a mother and her daughter. Much of the criticism was nevertheless opted by the Canadian Esi Edugyan and his epic on the escape to freedom of a teenage slave in the Barbados of the nineteenth century. The list was completed by the Americans Rachel Kushner and Richard Powers, as well as the Scottish poet Robin Robertson and their premiere in the novel genre.
Established in 1969 and conceived originally as an award for British, Irish and Commonwealth writers, the Man Booker was opened five years ago to all authors who write in English (and publish in the British Isles). That is, including the Americans, who have since won it twice. That controversial decision has recently been criticized by previous recipients of the award, such as Julian Barnes or Peter Carey, who consider it an "exercise in branding corporate". The ruling in favor of Anna Burns has frustrated this time that a third Booker is going to the United States.