Rushdie wins 'Best of the Booker' award
Controversial India-born author Salman Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children', based loosely on India's independence, on Thursday won the prestigious 'Best of the Booker' title after securing approval of readers from across the globe.
When voting closed at midday on July 8, 7801 had voted (via online and SMS) for the six shortlisted Best of the Booker prize titles with 36 per cent voting for 61-year-old Rushdie's Midnight's Children, which was published 27 years ago.
Votes poured in from all around the world with 37 per cent of online votes coming from the UK followed closely by 27 per cent of online voters from North America.
At least half of the voters were under 35 with the largest age group ranging between 25-34 years, a reflection of the ongoing interest in quality fiction amongst readers in this age group.
Rushdie, currently in America on a tour with his latest novel 'The Enchantress of Florence', was unable to attend the event and instead sent his thanks via a pre-recorded message.
"Marvellous news! I'm absolutely delighted and would like to thank all those readers around the world who voted for Midnight's Children," he said.
His sons, Zafar and Milan, were in attendance at the award ceremony at the Southbank Centre to receive the custom-made trophy.
The Best of the Booker shortlist was selected by a panel of judges - the biographer, novelist and critic Victoria Glendinning, (Chair); writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup; and John Mullan, Professor of English at University College, London.
Glendinning said: "The readers have spoken - in their thousands. And we do believe that they have made the right choice."
Besides Rushdie's Midnight Children, the other five contenders were: Pat Parker's 'The Ghost Road', Peter Carey's 'Oscar and Lucinda', J M Coetzee's 'Disgrace', J G Farrell's 'The Siege of Krishnapur' and Nadine Gordimer's 'The Conservationist'.
The award celebrates the 40th anniversary of the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
The only time that a celebratory award had previously been created was in 1993, its 25th anniversary, when Rushdie won the 'Booker of Bookers' award with Midnight's Children.