Booker rules broken as Margaret Atwood and Bernadine Evaristo are joint winners

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15 October 2019
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The Booker judges broke their own rules and awarded the £50,000 prize jointly by announcing a tie

Margaret Atwood won for The Testaments, the follow-up to The Handmaid's Tale, and Bernadine Evaristo won for Girl, Woman, Other.At 79, Atwood is the oldest woman ever to win the Booker Prize, and Evaristo is the first British black woman to do so.

The judges decided that they couldn't separate the two winning books.

Peter Florence, chair of judges said: 'It was our decision to flout the rules. The more we talked about them, the more we found we loved them so much we wanted them both to win.'

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Bernadine Evaristo said. 'I am the first black woman to win this prize, and I hope that honour doesn't last too long. I hope other people will come forward now.'

Margaret Atwood was nominated for the Booker in 1986 for The Handmaid's Tale, and won it in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.

Peter Florence said that Atwood's Gilead books 'might have looked like science fiction back in the day, though all the extremities are rooted in fact. Now it looks more politically urgent than ever before.'