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Cameron narrowly misses Booker Prize win

David Cameron

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo have been named joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize despite what judges described as a strong entry by the former prime minister.

Atwood’s The Testaments, the writer’s follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, and Evaristo’s novel - Girl, Woman, Other - beat Cameron’s debut, For The Record, with the two women sharing the prestigious £50,000 prize for fiction.

Judges praised David Cameron’s book for “wonderful fictional depictions” of his time in office but felt that some of his characters were a little too unbelievable to take the prize.

“When David writes about imposing austerity as a response to the 2008 economic crisis he really draws the reader into his fictional universe,” says George Fishlove, the chair of the Booker Prize judges. 

“For a moment, I found myself almost believing he had the best interests of the country at heart and austerity wasn’t simply an ideological crusade against the working class. That’s powerful writing.

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“The chapters about the lead up to the Brexit referendum and his continued belief that it was the right thing to do have all the imagination of literary heavyweights like Tolkien or E. L. James.

While the judges unanimously agreed that For The Record will be a future classic in the political fiction genre, several of Cameron’s characters prevented it from winning the prize.

George Fishlove said, “the backstabbing Michael Gove and the clown Boris are of course classic literary archetypes, and beautifully realised by David.

“I was even able to believe the Victorian affectations of Jacob Rees-Mogg could exist in a world where social media allows even the most niche beliefs to become widely acceptable.

“But the idea that a character like Chris Grayling could hold office is just too far fetched, even for a work of fiction.” 

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