London: South African playwright and novelist Damon Galgut won the 2021 Booker Prize for his novel The Promise.
A ceremony in London announced the news on November 3rd. The novelist also received nomination twice earlier.
He was earlier shortlisted for “The Good Doctor” in 2003 and “In a Strange Room” in 2010 but missed both seasons.
His award-winning work The Promise is a novel concerning one white family’s reckoning with South Africa’s discriminatory past.
Writer Galgut had been British bookmakers’ runaway pick to get the 50,000-pound ($69,000) award with his tale of a troubled Afrikaner family and its broken commitment to a Black employee. This tale exhibits more prominent themes in South Africa’s transformation from racial segregation.
Galgut stated he was accepting the award “on behalf of all the tales told and untold, the authors heard and unheard, from the extraordinary region that I’m part of.” He remarked that this year’s Nobel literature laureate, Zanzibar-born author Abdulrazak Gurnah, was similarly African.
“Please keep listening to us — more to come,” Galgut added.
His novel depicts a troubling portrait of modern-day South Africa. “I didn’t plan for the overall trajectory of the book to be a downward one. I think the portrait it paints of modern South Africa is not a pleasant one. There was no any idea to describe it that way, but things are not great with us now. You could read that as a warning or a portrait, I don’t know, but South Africa has seen better days,” he added.
Galgut is the 3rd South African novelist to get the Booker Prize. Other novelists who won the prize included Nadine Gordimer in 1974 and J.M. Coetzee, who won twice in 1983 and 1999.
The coronavirus pandemic has hastened the prize’s normal black-tie dinner ceremony at London’s medieval Guildhall. A ceremony broadcast live on BBC radio and television announced the winner.