In his acceptance speech, Saunders, 58, noted that “we live in a strange time,” adding he saw the key question of the era being whether society responded to events with “exclusion and negative projection and violence,” or “with love/.”Saunders was the second consecutive American writer to win the prize after the rules were changed in 2014 to allow authors of any book written in English and published in the UK to compete.
The judging panel, led by author and member of Britain’s House of Lords Lola Young, praised the “deeply moving” book, saying it was “utterly original”.Saunders was presented with his award by the Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Britain’s Prince William.
Last year, American Paul Beatty became the first American to win the award, for his novel “The Sellout,” a biting satire on race relations in the United States.
The award was previously open only to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe or countries in the British Commonwealth. The winner receives a 50,000 pound ($65,000) cash prize.