PEN International congratulates Damon Galgut for winning the 2021 Booker Prize.
This year’s panel of judges - chaired by Maya Jasanoff, chose The Promise, a story spanning four decades which explores the interconnected relationships between the members of a diminishing white family through the lens of four funerals.
“I am happy that the 2021 Booker Prize has been awarded to such an important book as The Promise. Damon Galgut created a good example of how literature can absorb life and create it anew. Congratulations to Galgut”, said Burhan Sonmez, President of PEN International
This year’s shortlist comprises:
Last year’s prize was awarded to Douglas Stuart for his first novel, Shuggie Bain.
Previous winners include Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo for The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other respectively (2019), Anna Burns for Milkman (2018), George Saunders for Lincoln in the Bardo (2017) and Paul Beatty for The Sellout (2016), among others.
Acclaimed author, PEN International’s board member and English PEN’s vice-president Ben Okri won the award in 1991 for his book The Famished Road. Three decades on from The Famished Road’s win, BBC’s Samira Ahmed, Ben Okri and Douglaws Stuart discussed why books matter.
The Booker Prize, formerly known as the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, celebrates outstanding fiction written in English or translated into English, and has been a benchmark for literary distinction for over 50 years.
Damon Galgut is a South African playwright and novelist, who wrote his first novel aged 17 and has now been shortlisted three times for the Booker Prize. He grew up in Pretoria, where The Promise is set, and now lives in Cape Town.
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