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J G Farrell wins 'Lost Booker Prize'

books Updated: May 20, 2010 12:48 IST

AFP
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J G FarrellLate author J G Farrell has been honoured for his novel Troubles 40 years after it was first published, in an unusual take on Britain's most prestigious literary award, the Booker Prize.

He scooped The Lost Booker Prize, an award for books from 1970 which missed out the first time around because of a rule change in 1971.

Previously the prize, which began in 1969, was retrospective, meaning the 1970 award went to novels published the previous year - but the 1971 prize went to those published in 1971, .

Farrell, who died at the age of 44 in 1979, beat off competition from authors including Muriel Spark and Nina Bawden to pick up the award for the second time yesterday.

Troubles - the first novel in Farrell's trilogy about the British empire - received a clear majority, winning 38 percent of votes cast by the public in an online ballot to come top of the six-strong shortlist.

Set in Ireland in 1919, it tells the story of Major Brendan Archer who goes to visit a woman living in the dilapidated Majestic, a once grand Irish hotel, surrounded by the gathering storm of the Irish war of independence.

"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 Booker Prize literary director Ion Trewin.