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Man Booker Prize winner Anna Burns' novel chalks up 333,000 sales

Anna Burns
Anna Burns

By Gillian Halliday

A Man Booker prize-winning novel written by a Northern Ireland author has now sold 330,000 copies.

The book's publisher Faber & Faber said the sales spike was fuelled by an "astonishing demand" since it gained the prestigious accolade.

In October, Anna Burns who grew up in Ardoyne in north Belfast, became the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the Man Booker Prize for her novel, Milkman.

Since then it has been flying off the shelves - with demand highest here where book stores reported selling out within 24 hours of the Man Booker announcement.

The book is set in the Troubles during the 1970s in an unspecified location. It tells the story of a middle-aged male paramilitary member, nicknamed the 'Milkman', who makes sexual advances towards a teenage girl.

Faber & Faber said that of the overall total, 250,000 copies had been sold from its own warehouse supplies since Ms Burns beat off competition from the 13 other Man Booker nominees.

A further 63,288 copies have been recorded in the same period through Nielsen, which is used by the publishing industry to monitor sales.

Yesterday, bookshop chain Waterstones said customers are still coming through its doors to snap up a copy.

"Milkman is still absolutely very much in high demand," a staff member at the store's Belfast branch told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Readers are spreading the word by telling their friends, who are also popping in." The staff member said it was a picture that is being repeated across all its local stores.

"We anticipate that this will continue through the Christmas shopping period," they added.

It is also likely to experience a further upsurge internationally following reports that it has been sold to 23 new countries since the Man Booker Prize win.

Belfast Telegraph


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