Life of Pi Wins 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

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On October 22, 2002, Canadian author Yann Martel's second novel, Life of Pi (Harcourt), was named the winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Martel's fable about a boy stranded at sea with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger was a 2002 July/August Book Sense 76 Top Ten pick. "It feels like winning the lottery," said Martel, as reported by Toronto Star Newspaper's thestar.com. "Of the six fine books on the shortlist mine was the luckiest."

"In Life of Pi we have chosen an audacious book in which inventiveness explores belief," said Lisa Jardine, chair of judges, in a statement. "It is, as the author says, 'A novel which will make you believe in God' -- or ask yourself why you don't."

In nominating the book for the 76, bookseller Stephen Grutzmacher, of Passtimes Books in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, said, "Martel weaves a brilliant tale that is part adventure story and part spiritual quest. The part of the book that relates how Pi becomes a practicing Hindu/Moslem/Christian is worth the price of the book, and the portion that deals with Pi and a Bengal tiger adrift on the ocean in a lifeboat together is everything you might imagine and more."

The Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best full-length novel written in English by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or Ireland. The winner was announced at an awards dinner in the Great Court of the British Museum, London, and was televised live on BBC Two and BBC Four.