The Golden Man Booker, the one-off award marking the Man Booker Prize's 50thanniversary celebrations, was chosen by the public and revealed on Sunday. As if that prize wasn't enough, Ondaatje's novel was famously adapted into a 1996 film starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche that went on to win multiple Oscars.
Each of the judges for the Golden Man Booker Prize was allocated a decade from the prize's history and tasked with selecting the best work from it.
"The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction - both poetic and philosophical - and is a worthy victor of the Golden Man Booker", said Baroness Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation. "The English Patient" was selected by the novelist Kamila Shamsie to represent the 1990s.
Ondaatje's novel takes place at the end of the Second World War, as a nurse, thief and sapper care for a mysterious nameless man they call the English patient. It is reported by The New York Times.
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"Ondaatje's imagination acknowledges no borders as it moves between Cairo, Italy, India, England, Canada - and between deserts and villas and bomb craters".
The English Patient, the 1992 Booker Prize victor, was declared the overall victor of the Golden Man Booker Prize in the 50 year history of the award at the Man Booker 50 Festival in London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday. The book won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.
The other judges of the Golden Man Booker were writer and editor Robert McCrum, poet Lemn Sissay, broadcaster Simon Mayo and poet Hollie McNish.
The Sri Lanka-born writer was announced as the victor at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, which saw Shamsie discuss why she had chosen The English Patient and an extract performed by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.