Julian Barnes has been named the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction for THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, published by Random House.
Barnes’ first novel for six years, The Sense of an Ending went straight into the bestseller list on publication. It is the story of a seemingly ordinary man who, when revisiting his past in later life, discovers that the memories he holds are less than perfect. At the time of the shortlist announcement, 2011 judge Gaby Wood commented: ‘that the tragedy trapped in this mundane life should be so moving, and so keenly felt by the character that he can only confront it half-blindly and in fragments, is the mark of a truly masterful novel.’
Barnes has been shortlisted three times in the past for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984).
Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 judges, made the announcement at the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, broadcast by the BBC.
“Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading,” said Dame Rimington.
Jon Aisbitt, Chairman of Man Booker, presented Julian Barnes with a cheque for £50,000. Over and above the cash prize, Julian Barnes can expect to bring The Sense of an Ending to wider audiences around the world who follow the winners of the Man Booker Prize.
Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.
Sales of the books shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize have been the highest selling since records began. Sales of the novels are up 127% year-on-year and up 105% on the previous record in 2009.
The Sense of an Ending
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.