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Londoner of the Day goes to Julian Barnes for winning at last the prestigious Man Booker Prize for best work of fiction.

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The gong was handed to him during a lavish ceremony at Guildhall in London, last night.

Slim novel, The Sense of an Ending was the fourth effort by Barnes to be shortlisted for the prize.

Three previous nominations for the prize had ended in disappointment for him.

But London-based Barnes perhaps may not have lost much sleep over repeatedly being snubbed for the prize.

His mantelpiece is straining under the weighted of numerous trophies from a glittering career in letters.

Admitting relief at finally winning, Barnes hailed his publishers “for their wisdom and the sponsors for their cheque”.

Only 30 minutes were needed to pick him as winner by the five judges, led by ex-MI5 spook Dame Stella Remington.

Controversy, or a manufactured row, attended this year’s award. The shortlist was criticised for being too easy to read and not high-brow enough.

Barnes grew in a London suburb which was the inspiration for his novel, Metroland. It was made into a film in 1997.

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