Julian Barnes has just been awarded the 2011 Man Booker Prize for his novel “The Sense of an Ending.” Barnes was given the prestigious award and an $80,000 cash prize at a black-tie ceremony in London.
The LA Times reports that Barnes has been on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize three times before this year. Carol Birch’s “Jamrach’s Menagerie,” Esi Edugyan’s “Half Blood Blues,” Stephen Kelman’s “Pigeon English,” A.D. Miller’s “Snowdrops,” and Patrick deWitt’s “The Sisters Brothers” were on the short list this year.
Barnes said during his acceptance speech:
“When asked, as he constantly was, why he had never won the Nobel Prize, Borges used to reply that there was a cottage industry devoted to not giving Borges the Nobel Prize. Over the last years, in occasional moments of mild paranoia, I have wondered whether there wasn’t some similar, sinister organisation operating over here… I would like to thank the judges – who I won’t hear a word against – for their wisdom, and the sponsors for their check.”
Barnes’ novel, “The Sense of an Ending,” is one of the shortest novels to ever win the Man Booker Prize. But according to the Guardian, it isn’t quite the shortest. Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel, “Offshore,” which won in 1979, was shorter by a few hundred words.
Still, Barnes refers to his novel as a 300-word novel, since people are routinely reading it twice.
“A number of readers have told me that as soon as they got to page 150, they went to the beginning and started again so I now regard it as a 300-page novel.”
Have you read Julian Barnes’ “The Sense of an Ending?”