Booker prize-winning novelist and art critic John Berger dead at 90 | books$ht-picks | Hindustan Times
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Booker prize-winning novelist and art critic John Berger dead at 90

The Marxist intellectual, whose BBC series, Ways of Seeing, brought a political view to art criticism, died at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony on Monday. He had been ill for about a year.

books Updated: Jan 03, 2017 13:13 IST
PTI
John Berger, who won the Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel G, died at his home in Paris.
John Berger, who won the Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel G, died at his home in Paris.(Wikimedia Commons)

John Berger, the Booker prize-winning novelist and pioneering art critic, has passed away at the age of 90.

The Marxist intellectual, whose BBC series, Ways of Seeing, brought a political view to art criticism, died at his home in the Paris suburb of Antony on Monday. He had been ill for about a year, according to a Telegraph report.

Berger won the Booker Prize in 1972 for his novel G, and pledged to give half the prize money to the radical African-American movement, the Black Panthers.

Born in Hackney, North London, Berger began his career as a painter. Soon after his work was exhibited in the 1940s, he tried his hand at writing. His works ranged from poetry to screenplays, writings on photography, the exploitation of migrant workers and the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

The famed Scottish author Ali Smith described Berger as “one of the world’s most vital corresponders”.

“In John Berger’s work love and art and political and historical understanding are always in layered combination. There are many other writers and artists who work with this relation, but none with quite the transformatory fusion of his combining, which is a bit like encountering what clarity really is, what the word means, like looking through pure water and seeing things naturally magnified,” she said.

Reacting to Berger’s death, artist David Shrigley called him “the best ever writer on art”, and author Jeanette Winterson praised him as “an energy source in a depleted world.”

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