Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have become the first authors to jointly win the Booker Prize for Fiction since 1992.
This year's judges 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.
Atwood's The Testaments and Evaristo's novel Girl, Woman, Other earned each author an equal share of the £50,000 prize. At 79, Atwood is the oldest ever Booker winner, and only one of four people to have won the prize twice.
Evaristo is the first black woman to win.
The other nominees were Lucy Ellmann, Chigozie Obioma, Sir Salman Rushdie and Elif Shafak.
Atwood said after the ceremony at London’s Guildhall: “It would have been quite embarrassing for a person of my age and stage to have won the whole thing and thereby hinder a person in an earlier stage of their career from going through that door. I really would have been embarrassed, trust me on that.
“I’m not the jury. I have been on a jury that split the prize and I understand the predicament. I get it ... they should have split it 13 ways but unfortunately, that’s not how it goes.”
Evaristo said: “I’m just so delighted to have won the prize. Yes, I am sharing it with an amazing writer. But I am not thinking about sharing it, I am thinking about the fact that I am here and that’s an incredible thing considering what the prize has meant to me and my literary life, and the fact that it felt so unattainable for decades.”