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The five novels were then voted on by the public, which awarded the "Golden" Booker Prize to Ondaatje.

The novel - which was adapted into an Oscar-winning 1996 movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche - was judged to be the best victor of the 52 books to have won the prestigious award.

"The Golden Man Booker celebrates the literary brilliance that the Man Booker Prize has championed over the last five decades, and we are delighted to celebrate the important role it continues to play in the inspiring literary endeavour", said Man Group CEO Luke Ellis.

All 51 previous Booker winners were considered by a panel of judges, who whittled them down to one from each decade.

The judges were journalist Robert McCrum, who chose In a Free State by VS Naipaul for the 1970s; poet Lemn Sissay, who chose Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively for the 1980s; novelist Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient for the 1990s; broadcaster Simon Mayo, who chose Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the 2000s; and poet Hollie McNish, who chose Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders for the 2010s.

The English Patient, which also inspired the Oscar-winning 1996 film from late director Anthony Minghella, is set at the end of the Second World War and revolves around the identity of a badly burned patient and whether he is a French archaeologist or a Nazi spy.

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Shamsie said Ondaatje's novel, published at a time when "borders seemed much more assured", had a different resonance in the current climate, amid "anxieties about borders and anxiety about migrants and other people". "While we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award, that all the books-winners are still printed, is a Testament to her award, influence and heritage", - said the Baroness.

"And I think it is really courageous and remarkable the way he goes into that story and says war is trauma, and war is about separating people by nations when there are so many other reasons for them to be together", she added.

The prize was founded in 1968 and the first victor was named in 1969.

Born in 1943 in Sri Lanka when it was known as Ceylon, Mr. Ondaatje now lives in Canada.

After studying at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Que., and receiving degrees from the University of Toronto and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., Ondaatje got his start as a professor.

The English Patient has been crowned the best ever Man Booker Prize victor.