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Random House Holds Booker Prize and Runner Up

Random House imprints Secker & Warburg and Chatto & Windus
dominated last night's Booker Prize ceremony.

J.M.Coetzee was named as winner of the 21,000 award for his
novel, Disgrace (Secker & Warburg), becoming the first author to
win the prestigious award twice in its 31-year history.

In an unprecedented move, the chair of the judges, Gerald
Kaufman, named Anita Desai's Fasting, Feasting (published by Chatto
& Windus) as the runner up.

Hailed as one of the most distinguished novelists writing in
English, Coetzee's volume of work includes eight novels, including
the 1983 Booker Prize winner, Life and Times of Michael K, and one
memoir. He lives in South Africa where he is Professor of General
Literature at the University of Cape Town. Disgrace was published in
July 1999 to huge critical acclaim: "This is a harsh story told in
prose of spare, steely beauty and with an intelligent potency that
makes it as exhilarating as it is grim. It confirms Coetzee's claim
to be considered one of the best novelists alive" Sunday Times.

Anita Desai has been shortlisted for the Booker twice before,
with Clear Light of Day (1980) and In Custody (1994). Her body of
work includes several novels, children's books and short stories. A
Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, The American Academy of
Arts and Letters and Girton College, Cambridge, Desai divides her
time between America where she teaches in the Writing Program at
MIT, India and the UK. Fasting, Feasting received wonderful reviews
on publication in May: "Desai has a wicked subtle humour . her
characters are beautifully described. In Desai's hands, it is all
wonderful. Her writing is polished and mature, with a wit she
cleverly underplays" Daily Telegraph

Gail Rebuck, Chief Executive of The Random House Group, said:
"Everyone at Random House is delighted that both J.M. Coetzee and
Anita Desai were shortlisted for the prize - especially as both have
been shortlisted before. That Disgrace won, and that the judges
felt so passionately about Fasting, Feasting that they took the
unprecedented step of declaring it the runner-up, is a tribute to
the skills and passion of the individual publishers, Geoff Mulligan
of Secker & Warburg, Alison Samuel of Chatto & Windus, and their
teams. "

Geoff Mulligan, accepting the award on behalf of J.M. Coetzee,
read the following statement issued by the author:

"This is the second time I have sat in a faraway city waiting to
hear the judges' decision from London. If this time I don't, as the
Americans say, get the nod, then, too bad. This message of thanks
will quietly go into the waste paper basket. If I do win, it will
only be because the stars, this October 25th, are in a lucky
conjunction for me. I know and admire the other writers on the short
list, am all too conscious that any one of them would be an equally
worthy winner. To the people behind the Booker Awards, and to the
judges, my thanks. This remains the ultimate prize to win in the
English-speaking world, and I am profoundly aware of the honour you
have done me."

Both Disgrace and Fasting, Feasting will be published by Vintage
in paperback in 2000.

© Scoop Media

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