British author Julian Barnes on Tuesday won the Man Booker Prize, one of the highest-profile awards in English-language literature, at the fourth attempt for his novel The Sense of an Ending.
Barnes picked up the £50,000 ($80,000) award, which recognises the best work of fiction by an author from the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, at a ceremony in London.
He told the audience assembled at the Guildhall he was "as much relieved as I am delighted" after losing out in 1984, 1998 and 2005.
Barnes, 65, also referred to the build-up to this year's prize, which was overshadowed by the launch of a rival award in protest at the apparent populist nature of the six-book shortlist.
He said: "I'd like to thank the judges, who I won't hear a word against, for their wisdom and the sponsors for their cheque."
The Leicester-born author joked that in moments of paranoia he suspected a "small cottage industry" was working to prevent him from winning the award after being passed over for his works Flaubert's Parrot, England, England and Arthur and George.