Event 99

Anna Burns talks to Gaby Wood


Baillie Gifford Stage

The 2018 Man Booker Prize winner discusses her darkly funny novel set in 1970s Belfast with the prize’s director.

“In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous."

Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

“Milkman is extraordinary. I've been reading passages aloud for the pleasure of hearing it. It's frightening, hilarious, wily and joyous all at the same time” – Lisa McInerney.

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Anna Burns talks to Gaby Wood