J.G. Farrell wins "lost" Booker award for Troubles

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - J.G. Farrell was named on Wednesday the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize, devised to honor writers who were not eligible for Britain’s top literary award due to a rule change 40 years ago.

Farrell, whose “The Siege of Krishnapur” won the regular Booker Prize in 1973, died in 1979 and was one of four deceased authors to make the shortlist for the “lost” award when it was announced in March.

“‘Troubles’ is a novel of such lasting quality that it has never been out of print in the 40 years since it was first published,” said Ion Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes.

“Had this been the winning novel in 1970, J.G. Farrell would have gone on to become the first author to win the Booker Prize twice.”

Troubles, which won 38 percent of votes in an online poll, is set in Ireland in 1919, just after World War One, and tells the story of Major Brendan Archer who has gone to visit Angela, a woman he believes may be his fiancee.

Her home is the dilapidated Majestic, a once grand Irish hotel, and all around is the gathering storm of the Irish uprising.

The Booker Prize was originally given to a book published in the previous year but since 1971 it has been given to the best novel of the current year, so books published in 1970 were never eligible.

Also on the shortlist was Nina Bawden for “The Birds on the Trees,” Shirley Hazzard (“The Bay of Noon”), Mary Renault (“Fire From Heaven”), Muriel Spark (“The Driver’s Seat”) and Patrick White (“The Vivisector”).

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison