The most prestigious English literary award Booker prize has resulted in a tie this year as Canadian Margaret Atwood and British Bernardine Evaristo both emerge as winners. The decision, the third one in the award’s history, has come out after a long confrontation between the five-member panel and prize sponsors.
“Prize trustees repeatedly told the judges they couldn’t have two winners, but they essentially staged a sit-in in the judging room as deliberations dragged on for five hours,” said Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation.
However, Peter Florence the head of the five-member panel said, “Our consensus was that it was our decision to flout the rules. I think laws are inviolable and rules are adaptable to the circumstance.”
The panel head added that the decision does not set a precedent and both the authors would take £50,000 between them. The authors of The Testaments (Atwood) and Girl Woman, Other (Evaristo) stated that they are happy with the decision.
“So I’m just absolutely delighted to have the prize and to share the prize,” said Evaristo.
Whereas Atwood who has previously won the prize in 2000 said, “It would have been quite embarrassing for a person of my age and stage to have won the whole thing and thereby have kept a younger one, at a different stage of their career, from going through that door.”
Margaret Atwood is a 79-year old, oldest recipient of the Booker prize.