Reading List : Best Man Booker in 50 Years

 Michael Ondaatje speaks after being named the winner of the Golden Man Booker prize. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA

Michael Ondaatje speaks after being named the winner of the Golden Man Booker prize. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA

The public has made its decision and Michael Ondaatje’s bestselling novel The English Patient named as the greatest-ever winner of the Man Booker Prize. 

It’s been fifty years, since the prize that has boosted careers of writers such as Ian McEwan, Arundhati Roy, and Kazuo Ishiguro, was established. To celebrate the occasion, a panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, and selected five books that were put to a public vote for the greatest-ever winner. VS Naipaul’s In a Free State, Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo entered the list of selected top-five together with The English Patient, which took the award. 

 Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in the 1996 film adaptation of The English Patient. Photograph: Miramax/Everett/Rex Features

Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in the 1996 film adaptation of The English Patient. Photograph: Miramax/Everett/Rex Features

Ondaatje’s historical novel received the most votes, with nearly 9,000 votes cast by the public. 

If you’re only familiar with this story of love and conflict during World War II by the movie, or if you’ve enjoyed the book already—either way, it calls for a re-read.

 Kamila Shamsie: ‘A lot of books by male writers are only interested in the lives of men.’ Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian

Kamila Shamsie: ‘A lot of books by male writers are only interested in the lives of men.’ Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian

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