A #MeToo novel wins the coveted Booker Prize

British author Anna Burns holds her book Milkman

British author Anna Burns holds her book Milkman

Set in the British countryside, Ms Johnson's novel centres on the complex relationship between Gretel and her mother, who abandoned her to foster care so she could make a fresh start with a new lover.

Her win ensured that an American did not win the Booker for a third year in succession.

The novel, Burns's third, is set during the Troubles in the 1970s with a protagonist facing sexual harassment from a man taking advantage of the "divided society".

The Booker Prize's chair of judges, philospher Kwame Anthony Appiah, dubbed the book "incredibly original".

He urged people to read the book out loud or seek out an audiobook of the novel to best appreciate Burns' authentic Northern Irish vernacular and speech patterns. In an interview on the Man Booker website, Burns said, "In the early days I tried out names a few times but the book wouldn't stand for it".

She said: "I was being told to create the girl".

"It's challenging in the way a walk up Snowdon is challenging - it's definitely worth it because the view is terrific when you get to the top".

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The novelist has, however, said she is happy for the work to be taken as an inspiration by those involved in the movement. It is intensive. I spend my time reading articles in the Journal of Philosophy so by my standards it is not too hard. "I urge people to keep going with it, it's intensely rewarding". The victor receives £50,000, or about $92,000, and typically sees a big boost in book sales. Americans have been eligible since 2014, and there have been two American winners - Paul Beatty's The Sellout in 2016 and George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo in 2017. The bestseller among the titles in the shortlist, having sold 5,200 copies according to the Guardian, Johnson's book was trumped by Milkman, which has sold 400 copies less than it, until the prize was announced.

Chair of judges Kwame Anthony Appiah said: "The language is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the amusing, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist".

The novel chronicles the struggles of a middle sister in a family as she confronts rumour, social pressures and politics amid violent sectarian divisions in her community.

Anna Burns was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1962.

Author Anna Burns was named the victor of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her novel Milkman at a lavish awards ceremony in London on Tuesday night, becoming the first author from Northern Ireland to win the most prestigious English-language literary award.

In 2001 she won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction. She left for university in England and has remained there ever since.

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