American author George Saunders has been awarded the renowned Man Booker Prize for his first full-length novel, Lincoln In The Bardo.

The Texas-born writer, who was previously best known for his short stories, was praised by the judges for the "utterly original" work which they said was "deeply moving".

Lincoln In The Bardo tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's grief after the death of his young son and is set in a graveyard over a single night.

The 58-year-old writer, who was the favourite to win, was one of six authors shortlisted for the prestigious award alongside fellow Americans Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund, British writers Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, and British-Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid.

Saunders was presented with the literary award and £50,000 prize during a ceremony in central London which was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the judges, said: "The form and style of this utterly original novel reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative.

"This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln's young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world.

"Lincoln In The Bardo is both rooted in and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy."

This marks the second time an American author has won the Man Booker Prize in its 49-year history, after Paul Beatty was triumphant last year with his satirical novel The Sellout.

Saunders has previously won the Folio Prize and Story Prize for his short story collection Tenth of December.

Lincoln in the Bardo is his ninth book.