First awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize is a highly-valued award for writers and readers of the English language. Karunatilaka is the second Sri Lanka-born winner, after Michael Ondaatje, who took the trophy in 1992 for “The English Patient.”
Her publisher called Mantel "one of the greatest English novelists of this century" whose works are considered "modern classics" and who will be "greatly missed".
Hailed as "extraordinarily funny" despite confronting traumatic events, the book is centred around an 80-year-old widow's experiences during the subcontinent’s 1947 partition into India and Pakistan.
The novel’s sweep, vivid characters and unflinching look at poverty have been compared to the work of Charles Dickens.
Canadian writer Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo have split the Booker Prize, after the judging panel ripped up the rulebook and refused to name a single winner for the prestigious fiction trophy.
Six books from Europe, South America and the Middle East are finalists for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction in translation. The winner of the $65,000 prize – split between author and translator – will be announced May 21 in London.
Her novel "Milkman" is an exploration of Northern Ireland's three decades of sectarian violence told through the voice of a young woman.
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