Man Booker Prize Goes to Julian Barnes

'The Sense of an Ending' author once called prize 'posh bingo'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 10:08 AM CDT
British author Julian Barnes with his book 'The Sense of an Ending' at a photocall in London, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – Julian Barnes once described the Man Booker Prize as “posh bingo,” but he won that game of bingo this week. Barnes won the 2011 prize for his 150-page novella, The Sense of an Ending, in a decision that took the judges just 31 minutes to reach, the Telegraph reports. The novella concerns a seemingly boring middle-aged man who revisits his younger years and questions his memories after receiving the diary of an old friend who committed suicide.

Barnes, who was also nominated in 1984, 1998, and 2005, joked while accepting the award that he used to wonder if there was a “sinister organization” devoted to not giving him the prize. He also clarified his infamous 1987 comments about the prize (see them in full at left), Bloomberg reports: “The Booker Prize has a tendency to drive writers a bit mad with lust and greed and expectation. I was saying that the best way to stay sane is to treat it as ‘posh bingo.’ That means unless and until you win it, when you realize that the judges are the wisest heads in literary Christendom.”

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