Man Booker prize goes to second American author in a row

George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo described as ‘unique’ and ‘extraordinary’ by head of 2017 judging panel

The American short story writer George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.

His novel is based around a real event: the night in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln buried his 11-year-old son Willie in a Washington cemetery. Imagining the boy trapped in the Bardo – a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo – Saunders’ novel follows the fellow dead, also trapped in the graveyard and unwilling to accept death, who observe the boy as he desperately waits for his father to return.

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Man Booker prize goes to second American author in a row

George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo described as ‘unique’ and ‘extraordinary’ by head of 2017 judging panel

The American short story writer George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.

His novel is based around a real event: the night in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln buried his 11-year-old son Willie in a Washington cemetery. Imagining the boy trapped in the Bardo – a Tibetan Buddhist term for a kind of limbo – Saunders’ novel follows the fellow dead, also trapped in the graveyard and unwilling to accept death, who observe the boy as he desperately waits for his father to return.

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How to win a Booker prize: be under 50, enter your seventh book – about a man

Man Booker stats reveal that the average winner is white, English and in his late 40s – which does not make this year’s award easier to predict

If you’re sceptical about what the odds from the bookmakers or sales figures from bookshops can tell us about who’ll win the Man Booker prize in a few hours – and you should be – then perhaps you might prefer this solid number-crunching from Kiera O’Brien, charts editor at the Bookseller.

Looking at the previous 47 winners of the award, O’Brien has found that (rather unsurprisingly) the average Booker prizewinner is an English, white, privately educated man in his late 40s, who has written a book of less than 400 pages that has a male protagonist.

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How do you win the Man Booker prize? Move to New York or London | Lucy Diver

The prize used to champion unknowns and outsiders. But a 2014 rule change has cemented the neo-colonial cultural dominance of the US and the UK

The upstairs room of an indie bookstore. A book launch for a local author. Crisps and wine are being handed out, a buzz is in the air, congratulations are showered upon the young writer. I know – because I worked there at the launch of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries.

When Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize, people in the bookstore were crying. Looking back on that day, the store’s manager said: “I don’t watch rugby, but I did think, maybe this is what it’s like when we win the World Cup?”

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Man Booker prize 2017: Ali Smith leads sales, George Saunders ahead at bookies

On the eve of the UK’s leading fiction award, Autumn dominates sales of the shortlisted novels, but Lincoln in the Bardo is tipped to take the final prize

Ali Smith is outselling the US writers on the Man Booker prize shortlist with just one day left before the winner is announced – but American author George Saunders remains the favourite at the bookmakers.

According book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan, Smith’s novel Autumn is the commercial winner so far among the six titles shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious prize for fiction with almost 50,000 copies sold. From the US, Paul Auster’s 4321 comes in second with nearly 15,000 sales. Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo, debut British novelist Fiona Mozley’s Elmet, and British/Pakistani Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West have all sold about 10,000 copies each. History of Wolves, by the American first-timer Emily Fridlund, has sold the least, with a figure of ...

Not the Booker prize 2017 – watch the judges pick a winner live

Readers have had their say, and have backed a clear leader. Now it’s down to the judges to pass their final judgment - here, from 11am BST

The votes are in. Let’s get straight down to the readers’ vote for this year’s award:

Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li 130
Man With A Seagull On His Head by Harriet Paige 106
The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena Macdonald 103
Not Thomas by Sara Gethin 55
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout 11

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MacArthur ‘genius grants’ go to novelists Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward

Among 2017’s recipients of the $625,000 honours are two novelists exploring the lives of minority communities in the US

Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward, two novelists exploring how writers from minority communities must “claim the same rights” as the majority, have landed $625,000 (£470,000) MacArthur fellowships, popularly known as “genius grants”.

The no-strings-attached fellowships, which have previously gone to writers including Claudia Rankine and Ta-Nehisi Coates, are intended “to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations”. Two novelists were among this year’s selection of 24 fellows, which included mathematicians, historians, computer scientists and anthropologists. Ward was picked for novels “exploring the enduring bonds of community and familial love among poor African Americans of the rural South, against a landscape of circumscribed possibilities and lost potential”. Nguyen was chosen for “challenging popular depictions of the Vietnam war and exploring the myriad ways ...