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Novelist Barry Unsworth dies
08.06.12 | Benedicte Page
Historical novelist Barry Unsworth, who won the Booker Prize in 1992 for his novel about the 18th century slave trade Sacred Hunger (Hamish Hamilton), has died in Italy aged 81. He is understood to have been suffering from lung cancer.
Unsworth was the author of 17 novels, most recently The Quality of Mercy, published by Hutchinson in hardback last autumn. Morality Play (Hamish Hamilton) and Pascali's Island (Michael Joseph) were also shortlisted for the Booker, in 1995 and 1980.
Hutchinson publishing director Jocasta Hamilton said: "We're incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to publish Barry Unsworth's last novel The Quality of Mercy, which has been shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. Many of us met Barry when he visited London in 2010 and were as charmed in person as we have been thrilled by his novels."
Waterstones spokesperson Jon Howells said: "It's been a sad week with Barry Unsworth and Ray Bradbury dying—two very different writers, but two important writers with great backlists. What I'll remember most is the time when the Booker Prize was properly controversial, and the 1992 win was split between Unsworth's Sacred Hunger and Ondaatje's The English Patient."
Hutchinson is reissuing novels Losing Nelson and Stone Virgin in Windmill in September, to coincide with the paperback edition of The Quality of Mercy.