Julian Barnes won Britain’s 2011 Man Booker Prize tonight for his short novel “The Sense of an Ending,” about a middle-aged man who’s forced to come to terms with the grotesque consequences of a seemingly trivial act in his youth. The book had received a raft of rave reviews earlier this year, and Barnes was widely tipped to win the 50,000 pound, or $78,500, accolade. He had been short-listed for the Booker three times before for “Flaubert’s Parrot,” “England, England,” and “Arthur and George.” “It’s true, it says so here, Julian Barnes, ‘The Sense of an Ending’,” said the 65-year-old author during his acceptance speech after the gala dinner at London’s Guildhall. “I am as much relieved as I am delighted to receive the Booker Prize. I would like to thank the judges for their wisdom, and the sponsors for their check.” Those eligible for the Booker are citizens of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland who have published in the United Kingdom for the first time in the year of the prize. The other short-listed authors were Carol Birch, Stephen Kelman, Patrick deWitt, Esi Edugyan, and AD Miller.