Judging panel break rules in choosing The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other as joint winners
The judges of this years Booker prize have explicitly flouted the rules of the august literary award to choose the first joint winners in almost 30 years: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo.
The chair of judges, Peter Florence, emerged after more than five hours with the jury to reveal that the group of five had been unable to pick a single winner from their shortlist of six. Instead, despite being told repeatedly by the prizes literary director, Gaby Wood, that they were not allowed to split the 50,000 award, they chose two novels: Atwoods The Testaments, a follow-up to her dystopian The Handmaids Tale, and Evaristos Girl, Woman, Other, which is told in the voices of 12 different characters, mostly black women.
Evaristos win makes her the first black woman to win the Booker since it began in 1969 and the first black British author. At 79, Atwood becomes the prizes oldest winner. The Canadian author previously won the Booker in 2000 for The Blind Assassin; she becomes the fourth author to have won the prize twice.