Anna Burns’s response

I can’t begin to tell you how honoured I feel to receive The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for my book, Milkman. I can hardly believe this has happened.

I thank the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Trust for setting up this prize, and for their generous-hearted aims in doing so. Although I never set out in my writing to cover particular topics and instead wait for whatever stories my characters will reveal to me of their personal lives and their environments, I could see and feel at once that Milkman was going to be much more about the Troubles than anything I’d written before. In particular I mean what it feels like to live day-to-day inside a ‘say nothing’ culture, and about what fear and terror does to everybody. My characters aren’t theories or ciphers or diktats. And neither are we.

Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to the judges for choosing my book as this biennial year’s winner, and from such a distinguished shortlist too. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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