"The Line of Beauty" wins 2004 Booker Prize

Alan Hollinghurst British author has won the 2004 &to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/95/381/11494_book.html' target=_blank>Booker Prize, the most prestigious literary award issued by Britain, for his gay novel "The Line of Beauty". The award, worth 50,000 pounds, is for the best novel of the last 12 months by an author from a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland, reports Xinhua.

Accepting his award, the 50-year-old writer said: "It's very amazing to me that the long, solitary process of writing a novel should lead to a moment like this," informs Times of India.

According to BBC, Scores of Waterstone's and Borders stores will be clearing shelf space for the novel - because until now Hollinghurst's books have not had the widest of readerships.

Admired in literary circles, his books have a strong gay following, but they are about to fall into new hands.

But Hollinghurst hopes that his new audience will not fall into the trap of thinking of him as a "gay writer" penning "gay novels".

"I can't dispute the terms in a way. But I get depressed when people use them, as if to suggest that is the principle or only thing of interest about the books. "I'm afraid the gay issue, the gay sex thing, crowds out other things in people's notice." Headlines around the world about his Booker win illustrate his point.

The other finalists this year were Sarah Hall's "The Electric Michelangelo," about a tattoo artist in Coney Island; Achmat Dangor's "Bitter Fruit," set in a modern South Africa struggling to come to grips with its stormy past; and Gerard Woodward's "I'll Go to Bed at Noon," a loving and harrowing account of the havoc alcohol can wreak on a family.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Mr. Smith, a member of Parliament, said the winning book's focus on gay life had not figured in the judges' discussions as they considered it for the prize.

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