South African Damon Galgut wins Booker Prize for ‘The Promise’

South African playwright and novelist Damon Galgut on Wednesday won the 2021 Booker Prize for “The Promise”, his third shortlisted novel which tells the story of a family in his homeland from late apartheid era through to Jacob Zuma’s presidency.

The book shows the family’s growing disintegration as the country emerges into democracy.

“I am really profoundly, humbly grateful for this,” said 57-year-old Galgut as he accepted the prestigious British award at a televised ceremony in London.

“It’s taken a long while to get here and now that I have, I kind of feel that I shouldn’t be here,” added the author.

“The Promise” was tipped to win the prize ahead of the announcement late Wednesday.

He has said he wanted the critically acclaimed novel to show how “the passing of time” impacts a family, a country, its politics and “notions of justice” – all while also exploring mortality.

“This has been a great year for African writing and I’d like to accept this on behalf of all the stories told and untold, the writers heard and unheard, from the remarkable continent that I’m part of,” he said.

“Please keep listening to us. There’s a lot more to come.” He said immediately after winning the Booker.

The winner walks away with a 50,000 pounds prize as well as a career-changing boost in sales and public profile.

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