Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Anna Burns became the first Northern Irish woman to win the Man Booker Prize for her novel, Milkman, the award committee announced Tuesday.
Burns' novel is set in an unnamed Irish city during a time of political conflict known as the Troubles and focuses on a young woman who tries to hide her relationship with a man who has ties to a separatist group while living in a tight-knit community.
Author and philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who chaired the 2018 judges panel, said, "None of us has ever read anything like this before."
"Anna Burns' utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose," Appiah said in a statement. "It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humor. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life."
Burns, 56, became the 17th woman to win the Man Booker Prize since the award began in 1969.
Milkman is her third novel and first major prize.