Salman Rushdie wins "Best of Booker" award

Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:24am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British author Salman Rushdie won the "Best of the Booker" prize on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.

"Midnight's Children" won the Booker Prize in 1981, and the Indian-born writer was hot favorite to take the award decided by the public from a shortlist of six in an online poll.

The 61-year-old, whose 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses" outraged many Muslims and prompted death threats against him, also won the 25th anniversary Booker prize in 1993.

"I think it was an extraordinary shortlist and it was an honor to be on it," Rushdie said in a recorded message from the United States, where he is on a book tour.

His sons, Zafar and Milan, accepted a trophy in London on his behalf, and the author said it was apt that "my real children (are) accepting a prize for my imaginary children."

Milan, the youngest, added: "I'm really looking forward to reading it when I'm older. Well done Dad."

Victoria Glendinning, chair of the panel who drew up a shortlist, said the entries were dominated by themes of the end of empire and two world wars.

"These are the nettles we have been compelled to try and grasp," she told reporters.   Continued...

<p>British author Salman Rushdie speaks during an interview with Reuters in London April 15, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>