South African writer Damon Galgut won the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction on Wednesday for his latest novel “The Promise”.
‘The Promise’ narrates the story of a white South African farming family across four decades that are punctuated by a death in the clan. The matriarch’s dying wish — or promise — is to gift a house on the property to the Black woman who has worked for the family her whole life. But the children are conflicted over whether to follow through on their mother’s wish.
He was previously shortlisted for “The Good Doctor” in 2003 and “In a Strange Room” in 2010, but lost both times.
However, this time his latest novel “The Promise” prevailed over five other novels, including Richard Powers’s “Bewilderment”, Patricia Lockwood’s “No One is Talking About This”, Maggie Shipstead’s “Great Circle”, Anuk Arudpragasam’s “A Passage North” and Nadifa Mohamed’s “The Fortune Men”.
Mr. Galgut said he was accepting the prize “on behalf of all the stories told and untold, the writers heard and unheard, from the remarkable continent that I’m part of”, noting that this year’s Nobel literature laureate, Zanzibar-born writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, was also African.
He is the third South African novelist to win the Booker Prize, after Nadine Gordimer in 1974 and J.M. Coetzee, who won twice, in 1983 and 1999.