George Saunders Wins the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo

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George Saunders. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Stop by your favorite local bookstore on the way home: George Saunders has been awarded this year’s Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo. Saunders is the second American in a row to win the prize, which was opened to writers outside the British Commonwealth in 2014. “The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative,” Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judging panel, wrote in the announcement. The book follows Abraham Lincoln just after the death of his 11-year-old son Willie, as Willie is trapped in the Bardo, a kind of transitional state between lives. “I never had any idea that I would write another book in a historical voice — that doesn’t interest me,” Saunders told Vulture earlier this year. “But I have a visceral feeling that I’ve learned a lot about form, and the juxtaposition of different voices. I got a little more confident in my ability to reside in an emotional moment without panicking.” Lincoln in the Bardo was up against five other books on the shortlist: 4321 by Paul Auster, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, and Autumn by Ali Smith.

George Saunders Wins 2017 Man Booker Prize