It’s my very great pleasure to congratulate Richard Flanagan on winning the 2014 Man Booker Prize for his powerful and moving novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Richard is just the third Australian to win this prestigious award and the first author to claim the prize in the new, greatly expanded field.
The Narrow Road is a complex and nuanced story of one of the most traumatic periods of Australia’s wartime history – the horrors endured by prisoners-of-war during the building of the Thai-Burma railway.
Yet Flanagan’s novel also transcends the brutality of that period and the lasting physical and psychological scars it inflicted on those involved. It is not so much a story about the Australians, or the Japanese, it is a tale that reaches out to a common humanity and universal emotion.
As Flanagan himself put it in his now prize-winning work:
“A good book…leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.”
That is the brilliance of The Narrow Road, its ability to stir something elemental in the reader’s soul.
On behalf of Federal Labor, I commend Richard Flanagan on his achievement – and heartily recommend The Narrow Road to the Deep North to anyone yet to read it.
WEDNESDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
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