Saturday, July 12, 2008

Salman Rushdie and the Best of the Booker

We reported earlier this week about the Best of the Booker award. Here's part of the BBC 's announcement:
Sir Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children has won the Best of the Booker prize, as voted for by the public. The 1981 book beat five other former Booker winners shortlisted from the prize's 40-year history. Sir Salman, who was unable to attend the London ceremony as he is currently on tour in the US, sent his thanks via a pre-recorded message. It is the third Booker award for the author, who was also the winner of the Booker of Bookers in 1993.

"Marvellous news -- I'm absolutely delighted and would like to thank all those readers around the world who voted for
Midnight's Children," the author said.
The other Booker winners that made up the shortlist for this best of award were:

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (1999)
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (1988)
The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (1974)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (1973)
The Ghost Road by Pat Barker (1995)

The Independent reports:
Rushdie's post-colonial story about the partition of India won 36 per cent of the vote. At least half the voting public was aged under 35 and more than a quarter of the 7,801 votes cast came from the US. Rushdie, 61, who was born in Mumbai but educated in England, is currently promoting his latest book in Chicago but sent a video message conveying his thanks to voters. His sons, Zafar and Milan, collected the trophy.

He said: "[I think of] how astonished my younger self writing Midnight's Children in the late-1970s would have been about this. It was written with such hope but not with the expectation that this book would still be interesting and relevant to people who were not even born when it was written."

His youngest son, Milan, 11, said while he was still to read his father's magnum opus, he was born just eight minutes before midnight, similar to the protagonist of the novel, who was born on the stroke of 12.
Meanwhile, The Guardian features several downloads:

Audio: Salman Rushdie talks to Stuart Jeffries

The Guardian Book Club have a treat for Salman Rushdie readers as he will be appearing at a special event at The Shaw Theatre in London at 7 p.m. on July 28, talking to John Mullan about Midnight's Children. Tickets are £10/£8 and can be bought direct from the venue Tel (0044 871 594 3123) or from the UK 0871 594 3123.

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