Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have been named the joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize after the judges broke their rules by declaring a tie.
Atwood’s The Testaments, the Canadian writer’s follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, was recognised alongside Londoner Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other.
The pair will split the literary award’s £50,000 prize money equally.
The Booker rules say the prize must not be divided, but the judges insisted they “couldn’t separate” the two works.
Atwood, 79, is the oldest ever Booker winner, while Evaristo is the first black woman to win.
After their names were called, the pair stood arm-in-arm on stage and Atwood joked: “I would have thought I would have been too elderly, and I kind of don’t need the attention, so I’m very glad that you’re getting some.
“It would have been quite embarrassing for me… if I had been alone here, so I’m very pleased that you’re here too.”
The award’s rules were changed after the last tie in 1992, and organisers told this year’s judges they were not allowed to pick two winners.
But after five hours of deliberations, Peter Florence, the chair of the judges, said: “It was our decision to flout the rules.”
He told reporters: “The more we talked about them, the more we found we loved them both so much we wanted them both to win.”
Evaristo and Atwood spoke together on Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning.
Evaristo said winning was “a real game changer”, adding: “It means my work gets out there to a much wider audience around the world.
“There are lots of prizes which people from certain communities don’t win, certainly black people don’t win lots of literary awards. No one seems to notice, but it’s really important.
“A black woman has never won [the Booker before]. Only four black women have ever been shortlisted and there have been about 300 books shortlisted.
“Hopefully this signals a new direction for the Booker and the kind of judges they have. This year there were four women judges and one male.
“I hope more black women win this prize.”
Atwood, who is from Ottawa, said: “It’s great to be sharing with Bernardine… and I certainly hope you’ll come to Canada, bring your warm clothing!”
She told Evaristo: “What you have done is to make it possible for more black women to consider that writing is something they can do.”
Atwood ‘more urgent than ever’
It is 19 years since Atwood won the Booker for The Blind Assassin, and 33 years since she was nominated for The Handmaid’s Tale.
With the latter book enjoying newfound popularity and resonance against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s America, The Testaments picks up 15 years after the end of that novel.
Returning to the totalitarian, patriarchal Gilead, it is narrated by Aunt Lydia, one of the handmaids’ instructors, and two teenage girls.
Peter Florence said: “It does massively more than follow the single story that we had from Offred. This is beautiful in its depth and exploration of the world of Gilead.
“As [Atwood] has said, it might have looked like science fiction back in the day, although all of the extremities are rooted in fact. Now it looks more politically urgent than ever before.”
Published in September, The Testaments sold more than 100,000 copies in the UK in its first week, making it the fastest-selling hardback novel in four years.
Speaking before the ceremony, Atwood said winning would be “a double-edged sword for me, but for a younger person I think it would be great”.
Evaristo’s ‘groundbreaking’ characters
Girl, Woman, Other is 60-year-old Evaristo’s eighth novel. It gives a chapter each to the lives of 12 intertwining characters, who are mostly black British women.
“We black British women know that if we don’t write ourselves into literature no one else will,” the author has said.
Lesbian theatre director Amma, non-binary Morgan (formerly Megan), Barbadian bride Winsome and Northumbrian farmer Hattie are among the characters in a book that spans more than 100 years.
Peter Florence said there was “something utterly magical” about the book’s characters, whom he said “give a wonderful spectrum of black British women today”.
“There are stories there of people who haven’t been visibly represented in contemporary literature, and in that sense this book is groundbreaking, and I hope encouraging and inspiring to the rest of the publishing industry.”
In her acceptance speech, Evaristo said she hoped it would not be long before another black woman won the prize.
“It’s so incredible to share this with Margaret Atwood, who’s such a legend and so generous,” she said.
“A lot of people say, ‘I never thought it would happen to me’, and I will say I am the first black woman to win this prize, and I hope that honour doesn’t last too long. I hope other people come forward now.”
Evaristo started her career in theatre and co-founded Theatre of Black Women in 1982.
She also set up the Spread the Word writer development agency, the Complete Works mentoring scheme for poets of colour and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She was made an MBE in 2009 for services to literature.
She has called Girl, Woman, Other “a readable experimental novel”. The experimental element mainly comes from the unorthodox punctuation, which often dispenses with quotation marks and capital letters.
Judges’ stand-off with Booker bosses
The Booker Prize rules state that the prize “may not be divided or withheld”.
The award has been shared twice before – in 1974 and 1992 – but the rules were then changed.
“The thinking was it just doesn’t work – it sort of detracts attention from both, rather than drawing attention to either,” said Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation.
So when Florence told her the five judges wanted to announce a tie, she said no. The judges got back around the table.
Again, they told Wood they wanted two winners. This time, Wood phoned Baroness Kennedy QC, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, who told her: “Absolutely not.”
The judges deliberated again. “We tried voting, it didn’t work,” Florence said.
“There’s a metaphor for our times. And equally, today of all days, when rebellion is in the air, maybe we were a little moved by that.”
The panel resolved to hold firm on their split decision. Baroness Kennedy was called again.
“She said, ‘Well, if that’s what they’ve chosen to do, there’s nothing we can do,'” Wood said.
“We had to move on.”
Florence added that both winning books “have urgent things to say”.
He told reporters: “They also happen to be wonderfully compelling, page-turning thrillers, which can speak to the most literary audience, to readers who maybe are only reading one, or in this case I hope two books a year, and can speak at different levels to all sorts of different readerships.
“So in that sense they are, I hope and believe, really valuable Booker Prize winners.”
The other nominated novels:
- Lucy Ellmann – Ducks, Newburyport
- Chigozie Obioma – An Orchestra of Minorities
- Salman Rushdie – Quichotte
- Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
Hong Kong’s stock exchange has dropped its multibillion-dollar bid for the prized London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The bid was worth £32bn ($40bn) and was dependent on the axing of the London exchange’s planned purchase of US financial data provider Refinitiv.
But the LSE had rejected the offer, saying it fell “substantially short” of an appropriate valuation.
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) said it was now in the interest of shareholders to drop the bid.
In a statement, the board said it still believed a tie-up was “strategically compelling” and “would create a world-leading market infrastructure group”.
HKEX had until Wednesday to follow up its initial takeover proposal with a firm bid.
Under UK rules, it is not allowed to make another approach for the LSE for six months.
“The board of HKEX is disappointed that it has been unable to engage with the management of LSEG in realising this vision,” it said in a statement.
The LSE’s board rejected the bid unanimously last month and said it saw “no merit in further engagement”.
In a published letter sent to HKEX, the LSE said the bid was “inherently uncertain” because it was mostly in shares, and also because of Hong Kong’s questionable future as a strategic gateway.
The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern art gallery in London has been home to temporary exhibits, large and small, since its opening in 2000.
Installations have ranged from a giant sun to more than 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds.
Now it’s the turn of American artist Kara Walker, known for her exploration of slavery and racism through paper silhouettes and sculptures.
Her 13-metre-high piece Fons Americana “explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe… using water as a key theme”.
BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz went along to take a look at the exhibition, which is open until April 2020.
Boris Johnson is to call for the release of jailed British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he meets Iran’s president later.
The prime minister will meet Hassan Rouhani at a UN summit in New York, hours after blaming Iran for attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
It comes amid calls for him to take a tougher line with Tehran over its detention of dual nationals.
Mrs Zhagari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since April 2016.
The 40-year-old was jailed for five years in 2016 after being convicted of spying, which she denies.
On his flight to New York on Sunday, Mr Johnson told reporters: “I will not only be discussing Iran’s actions in the region, but also the need to release not just Nazanin but others who in our view are being illegally and unfairly held in Tehran.”
Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested Mr Johnson should form a new coalition of allies at the UN to call out Iran for its “diplomatic hostage taking”.
And Mrs Zhagari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said the prime minister must tell his Iranian counterpart “enough is enough” and secure his wife’s release.
“I don’t mind how he does that, but this has gone on long enough,” he said.
“Nazanin is at the end of her tether. We have to be clear with Iran that it’s not OK to conduct hostage diplomacy.”
Mr Hunt is supporting Mr Ratcliffe’s move to launch a new campaign group made up of other families of different nationalities with loved ones held in Tehran.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it should be a priority to ensure the price of taking hostages is “too high” for Iran.
“Iran is one of the few countries in the world that seeks to settle disputes by taking hostages,” he said.
He said it is thought other countries’ citizens have been taken hostage in Iran and only by working together can countries find a solution.
“When Europe and the US go separate ways on Iran it doesn’t work,” he said.
Mr Ratcliffe said efforts by Mr Johnson to get his wife released could make amends for comments he made as foreign secretary in 2017, when he said Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran teaching journalism.
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family has always insisted she was on holiday in Iran when she was arrested – and the UK government later clarified it had “no doubt” this was the case.
A number of people with dual Iranian and foreign nationality have been detained in Iran in recent years.
In August, a spokesman for Iran’s judiciary said a British-Iranian dual national, Anousheh Ashouri, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a court in Tehran after being convicted of spying for Israel.
British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a Middle East politics specialist at Melbourne University, is being held on charges that remain unclear, according to the Australian government.
Australians Mark Firkin and Jolie King, who also holds a UK passport – are also being detained in Iran.
Earlier this year, the UK foreign office warned all dual nationals against travelling to Iran because of the risk of arbitrary detention.
Tensions between the UK and Iran have worsened in recent months following a row over the seizure of oil tankers in the Gulf.
The meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Rouhani comes after the UK, France and Germany agreed on Monday that Iran was responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities last weekend.
Saudi Arabia has also accused Iran of carrying out the 14 September attacks, in which 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit an oil field and processing facility.
However, Iran has denied responsibility, accusing the UK, France and Germany of “parroting absurd US claims”.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said slowly and cautiously, some diplomatic pressure was being applied on Iran.
But he added there was little sign Iran was ready to make any diplomatic concessions, not least while Europe and the US appeared uncertain over how to respond to the Saudi attacks.
James Maddison’s first league goal of the season helped Leicester come from behind to beat Tottenham in an absorbing encounter at the King Power Stadium.
Maddison drilled a superb low effort into the far corner from distance to lift Brendan Rodgers’ side back into the top four of the Premier League at the visitors’ expense.
Ricardo Pereira had put the Foxes back on level terms, moments after Spurs had been denied a second goal when Serge Aurier’s low drive was disallowed for a marginal offside call against Son Heung-min.
Harry Kane’s fourth league goal of the campaign had given Spurs the lead in the first half, the England striker slotting Son’s clever flick beyond Kasper Schmeichel despite being knocked off balance by Foxes defender Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester thought they had opened the scoring themselves when Wilfred Ndidi scored on the rebound after Paulo Gazzaniga spilled Youri Tielemans’ effort, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
Tightest of VAR calls denies Spurs
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accused his players of “lacking fight” after they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Olympiakos in the Champions League midweek.
The result mirrored their 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal in their previous away league game, with Kane admitting after Wednesday’s Group B opener that Spurs had failed to learn from recent mistakes.
Pochettino made six changes to the team that started in Greece, with Hugo Lloris unavailable due to his wife giving birth and Dele Alli left out of the squad altogether. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Eric Dier all had to settle for places on the bench.
Perhaps as a result, the visitors looked disjointed in the early stages and were fortunate not to fall behind when Ndidi’s effort was chalked off.
There was nothing fortunate about Kane’s opener 13 minutes later, however.
The England striker managed to latch on to Son’s back-heel and despite losing his balance under Soyuncu’s challenge, he somehow managed to knock the ball past Jonny Evans before lifting it over Schmeichel into the far corner.
Spurs thought they had doubled their lead when Aurier drilled a powerful drive into the far corner, but Son was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.
Buoyed by that narrow decision, Leicester threw bodies forward and restored parity through Pereira, before Maddison struck with five minutes remaining to extend Spurs’ winless league run away from home to nine games.
Leicester prove top-six credentials
After watching the Foxes slip to their first defeat of the campaign at Old Trafford last weekend, Leicester fans were hopeful that their team could continue their impressive home form against a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable on their travels of late.
They had lost their last three meetings with Tottenham in the Premier League prior to today’s game, but this latest performance provided further compelling evidence that Rodgers’ team can mount a serious challenge for a top-six finish this season.
Maddison was heavily involved early on, the 22-year-old curling an effort narrowly off target from the edge of the box before firing straight at Gazzaniga from a tight angle after twisting and turning to find room for the shot.
Rodgers’ side did not let their heads drop after falling behind, with Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy both going close to equalising before Pereira’s strike midway through the second half.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, Maddison collected Hamza Choudhury’s pass before firing low into the bottom corner from a central position – all in front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
The result was no less than Maddison and his team-mates deserve and lifts the Foxes – temporarily at least – to second in the Premier League.
Man of the match – James Maddison (Leicester)
VAR takes centre stage – the stats
- There were two goals disallowed by VAR in this match, while no other game in the Premier League in 2019-20 has had more than one chalked off.
- Tottenham have failed to win three consecutive away Premier League games when they were leading at half-time for the first time since March 2008.
- Leicester have suffered just one defeat in their last nine Premier League home games (W6 D2), after losing four in a row directly before that.
- Tottenham are without a win in their last nine away games in the Premier League (W0 D2 L7) – they last had a longer winless away run between April and December 2006 (10).
- Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira scored his third goal in 41 Premier League appearances – all three have come at the King Power Stadium.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 13 games in all competitions against Leicester, four more than he has versus any other side in his professional career.
- Since the start of last season, Kane has scored 13 Premier League away goals, more than any other player in this period.
- Leicester’s James Maddison ended a run of 31 shots in the Premier League without a goal, since netting versus Huddersfield in April.
- Spurs’ Son Heung-min has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances versus Leicester (4 goals, 3 assists).
‘A wonderful performance’ – what the managers said
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers on BBC Sport: “It was a wonderful performance. I thought the players were outstanding. We started the game with a great tempo, which sets the emotion in the stadium.
“It was just a case of preparing the players mentally for the second half. We had to adapt the system at half-time. The players deserve huge credit. The quality we showed was top-class against an outstanding team.”
“Some of the offside decisions – it’s fine margins. Whatever the decision, you have to adapt and keep your focus on the game. The players did that very well.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on BBC Sport: “We dominated the game and we deserved more but that’s football. It can change quickly. We need to keep working. We have a lot of games coming and we need to be ready.
“I’m always saying that sometimes it (VAR) benefits you and sometimes it goes against you. You can’t complain afterwards. You have to accept it.
“Today, we were the better side but I hope they (Leicester) have a very good season. I admire Brendan Rodgers and wish them the best.”
Leicester travel to Luton Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, 24 September (19:45 BST), while Spurs visit Colchester United at the same time.
It was a night when “dreams came true” for two emerging English talents.
Manchester United and Arsenal struggled for large parts of their respective Europa League openers, but by the end two teenagers announced themselves on the senior stage.
First, 18-year-old academy graduate Bukayo Saka scored his first senior goal, and set-up Arsenal’s other two, to help the Gunners beat Eintracht Frankfurt.
Then, 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, who has come through the United youth ranks, rescued Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side from a frustrating draw against Astana with his first goal for the club.
So who are they? What records have they broken and what are people saying about their futures?
‘Greenwood will be a United starter for years to come’
Manchester United are keen to tie Greenwood down to a new contract.
Greenwood signed a professional contract last year but celebrates his 18th birthday on 1 October and United are hopeful of being able to mark the occasion with a lucrative new deal.
“We are always in talks with the boys about how we see the future. Mason is one we want to keep with us,” said Solskjaer.
There are few better places for a Manchester United academy graduate to score their first goal than in front of the Stretford End.
United had been kept out by Kazakh side Astana for 73 minutes on Thursday before Greenwood cleverly cut on to his right foot and finished through the goalkeeper’s legs.
In doing so, the striker became United’s youngest scorer in Europe and the first player born in the 2000s to score for the club.
Greenwood made his United debut in last season’s Champions League last-16 tie against Paris St-Germain, featured heavily in pre-season and came off the bench in the Reds’ first four Premier League games this season.
Last season, he scored 26 goals in 30 games across United’s youth, reserve and senior teams and made his England Under-21 debut earlier this month.
After Greenwood’s match-winning performance against Astana, former Manchester United and England striker Michael Owen told BT Sport: “I really like Mason Greenwood and not just because of tonight.
“I’ve seen him many times in the youth team and he is a proper, proper player. He could be a Man Utd starter for years to come. I think he will be.”
‘He looked better than Pepe’
Saka was making just his fifth senior start as part of an inexperienced Arsenal forward line, alongside fellow academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, but was the Gunners’ most impressive player in a tough game in Germany.
The winger set up Willock for the Arsenal’s opening goal, smashed in the second in the 85th minute, and teed up Aubameyang two minutes later.
He was a threat throughout with his pace and trickery on the left flank and the teenager’s goal made him Arsenal’s youngest scorer in Europe since Aaron Ramsey in October 2008.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Saka looked more impressive than the Gunners’ record signing Nicholas Pepe who joined this summer for £72m.
“They toiled away trying to get young players in and they have found one in Saka,” Keown said on BT Sport.
“You think of the way Pepe is playing at the moment and they paid £72m for him, and this kid looks better than him tonight.”
Saka, born in London in 2001, was given his senior debut in last season’s Europa League and scored five times and made eight assists in 20 games for the reserve side last season.
He has made eight appearances for England’s Under-19s and has scored three times and set up another two.
‘A dream come true’ – what they said
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka: “I’m so happy to score for Arsenal, it’s a dream come true – I have been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid.
“I just want to keep working hard to make sure I can feel this feeling again.”
Shades of Van Persie – what you said on #bbcfootball
Richard Berry: The way Greenwood moves reminds me a lot of Van Persie.
Stuart Mitchell: Greenwood is the best striker to come through the united academy in years, he will have a better goal scoring career than Rashford.
Emil, Stroud: I’ve been watching Mason Greenwood play for the youth team for years. The kids got bags of talent, a real star for the future.
Adam Salter: Saka has grown and grown and grown in this game. Looked nervous at the beginning, but that goal caps a brilliant performance. Easily the Man of the Match.
Fred, Hampshire: Two assists and a goal, looks like Saka may be knocking at the door after all.
Anthony Joshua has vowed to be more “switched on” at the start of fights, as he prepares to face Andy Ruiz Jr for a second time.
Joshua, 29, lost the IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight titles to the Mexican-American in New York in June and the pair fight again on 7 December.
The Briton’s demeanour during his ring walk led to questions after the defeat.
“I need to start taking this approach to my fights where I’m a bit more lively,” said Joshua.
Speaking on Eddie Hearn’s BBC podcast ‘No Passion, No Point’ Joshua said he was consciously trying to stay relaxed before the bout but will no longer suppress his natural energy on fight night.
“I know I’m capable of it,” he added. “There is too much at stake. If I go in there where I’m switched on, a time like the Ruiz fight where I am so relaxed, that might be the difference.”
Joshua and Ruiz fight again in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
‘I had to grieve’
Joshua was knocked down four times before being stopped in the seventh round by Ruiz, who accepted the bout at short notice and was a huge underdog.
It was his first defeat in 23 bouts as a professional and he now says he hopes to revert to the “challenger mindset” he had before becoming a world champion.
Asked how he dealt with his defeat, Joshua said: “I think I had to grieve and ask myself all the questions you would expect.
“People say ‘you lost’; I call it a blip.
“I can’t wait to get in there and fight him. Every time I have fought a champion I have risen to the occasion.”
A fourth teenager has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a boy at a chicken shop in central London.
Josiph Beker, 17, was stabbed to death outside Edgware Road KFC, Westminster, at about 14:00 BST on 10 September.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested on Sunday in connection with the murder. He remains in custody.
Two 16-year-old boys were charged with murder on Saturday. An 18-year-old arrested over the murder has been bailed pending further inquiries.
A new policy has been introduced at nightclubs in London’s West End after complaints that some are discriminating against people based on the colour of their skin.
Following several complaints about door policies, Westminster City Council now wants venues to sign up to a voluntary code of conduct to make them more inclusive.
The code calls for better training for door staff and for the public to be aware of how to complain if they feel they have been discriminated against.
Wrestling shows pack arenas and stadiums across the world but a new independent scene in London is creating its own home-grown stars.
Progress Wrestling started in 2011 and has grown in popularity since then.
It means women like Amy Samadzija, also known as Candy Floss, can step into the ring and make a name for themselves.