Man Booker Prize

Man Booker Prize
Man Booker Prize
Awarded for Best full-length English novel
Presented by Man Group
Location Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, and Zimbabwe
First awarded 1968
Official website

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe.[1] The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success; therefore, the prize is of great significance for the book trade.[2] It is also a mark of distinction for authors to be selected for inclusion in the shortlist or even to be nominated for the "longlist".


History and administration

The prize was originally known as the Booker-McConnell Prize, after the company Booker-McConnell began sponsoring the event in 1968;[3] it became commonly known as the "Booker Prize" or simply "the Booker." When administration of the prize was transferred to the Booker Prize Foundation in 2002, the title sponsor became the investment company Man Group, which opted to retain "Booker" as part of the official title of the prize. The foundation is an independent registered charity funded by the entire profits of Booker Prize Trading Ltd., of which it is the sole shareholder.[4] The prize money awarded with the Booker Prize was originally £21,000, and was subsequently raised to £50,000 in 2002 under the sponsorship of the Man Group, making it one of the world's richest literary prizes.

The rules of the Booker changed in 1971; previously, it had been awarded retrospectively to books published prior to the year in which the award was given. In 1971 the year of eligibility was changed to the same as the year of the award; in effect, this meant that books published in 1970 were not considered for the Booker in either year. The Booker Prize Foundation announced in January 2010 the creation of a special award called the "Lost Man Booker Prize," with the winner chosen from a longlist of 22 novels published in 1970.[5]

2001 was the first year in which the longlist was revealed to the general public.[6]


In 1972 winning author John Berger, who was an avowed Marxist at the time, protested during his acceptance speech against Booker McConnell. He blamed Booker's 130 years of sugar production in the Caribbean for the region's modern poverty.[7] Berger donated half of his £5,000 prize to the British Black Panther movement, because they had a socialist and revolutionary perspective in agreement with his own.[3][7]

In 1980 Anthony Burgess (Earthly Powers) refused to attend the ceremony unless he could be guaranteed a win.[3] He was one of two considered likely to win, the other being William Golding's Rites of Passage. The judges decided only 30 minutes before the ceremony, giving the prize to Golding. Both novels had been seen as favourites to win leading up to the prize and the dramatic "literary battle" between two senior authors made front page news.[3][8]

The award has been criticized in various ways for the types of books it covers. For example in 1981 nominee John Banville wrote a letter to the Guardian requesting that the prize be given to him so that he could use the money to buy every copy of the longlisted books in Ireland and donate them to libraries, "thus ensuring that the books not only are bought but also read - surely a unique occurrence."[3][9] In 1994, Richard Gott described the prize as "a significant and dangerous iceberg in the sea of British culture that serves as a symbol of its current malaise."[3][10]


The selection process for the winner of the prize commences with the formation of an advisory committee which includes an author, two publishers, a literary agent, a bookseller, a librarian, and a chairperson appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation. The advisory committee then selects the judging panel, the membership of which changes each year, although on rare occasions a judge may be selected a second time. Judges are selected from amongst leading literary critics, writers, academics and notable public figures.

The winner is usually announced at a ceremony in London's Guildhall, usually in early October.


In 1993 to mark the 25th anniversary it was decided to choose a Booker of Bookers Prize. Three previous judges of the award, Malcolm Bradbury, David Holloway and WL Webb, met and chose Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (the 1981 winner) as "the best novel out of all the winners".[11]

A similar prize known as The Best of the Booker was awarded in 2008 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the prize. A short list of six winners was chosen and the decision was left to a public vote. The winner was again Midnight's Children.[12][13]

Year Author Title Genre(s) Country
1969 P. H. Newby Something to Answer For Novel  United Kingdom
1970 Bernice Rubens The Elected Member Novel  United Kingdom
1970[a] J. G. Farrell Troubles Novel  United Kingdom
1971 V. S. Naipaul In a Free State Short story  United Kingdom
 Trinidad and Tobago
1972 John Berger G. Experimental novel  United Kingdom
1973 J. G. Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur Novel  United Kingdom
1974 Nadine Gordimer The Conservationist Novel  South Africa
Stanley Middleton Holiday Novel  United Kingdom
1975 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Heat and Dust Historical novel  United Kingdom
 West Germany
1976 David Storey Saville Novel  United Kingdom
1977 Paul Scott Staying On Novel  United Kingdom
1978 Iris Murdoch The Sea, the Sea Philosophical novel  Ireland
 United Kingdom
1979 Penelope Fitzgerald Offshore Novel  United Kingdom
1980 William Golding Rites of Passage Novel  United Kingdom
1981 Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children Magical realism  United Kingdom
1982 Thomas Keneally Schindler's Ark Biographical novel  Australia
1983 J. M. Coetzee Life & Times of Michael K Novel  South Africa
1984 Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac Novel  United Kingdom
1985 Keri Hulme The Bone People Mystery novel  New Zealand
1986 Kingsley Amis The Old Devils Comic novel  United Kingdom
1987 Penelope Lively Moon Tiger Novel  United Kingdom
1988 Peter Carey Oscar and Lucinda Novel  Australia
1989 Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day Historical novel  United Kingdom
1990 A. S. Byatt Possession: A Romance Novel  United Kingdom
1991 Ben Okri The Famished Road Magic realism  Nigeria
1992 Michael Ondaatje The English Patient Historiographic metafiction  Canada
 Sri Lanka
Barry Unsworth Sacred Hunger Historical novel  United Kingdom
1993 Roddy Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Novel  Ireland
1994 James Kelman How Late It Was, How Late Stream of consciousness  United Kingdom
1995 Pat Barker The Ghost Road War novel  United Kingdom
1996 Graham Swift Last Orders Novel  United Kingdom
1997 Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things Novel  India
1998 Ian McEwan Amsterdam Novel  United Kingdom
1999 J. M. Coetzee Disgrace Novel  South Africa
2000 Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin Novel  Canada
2001 Peter Carey True History of the Kelly Gang Historical novel  Australia
2002 Yann Martel Life of Pi Fantasy novel  Canada
2003 DBC Pierre Vernon God Little Novel  Australia
2004 Alan Hollinghurst The Line of Beauty Historical novel  United Kingdom
2005 John Banville The Sea Novel  Ireland
2006 Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss Novel  India
2007 Anne Enright The Gathering Novel  Ireland
2008 Aravind Adiga The White Tiger Novel  India
2009 Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall Historical novel  United Kingdom
2010 Howard Jacobson The Finkler Question Novel  United Kingdom
2011 Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending Novel  United Kingdom

a. ^ In 1971, the nature of the Prize was changed so that it was awarded to novels published in that year instead of in the previous year; therefore, no novel published in 1970 could win the Booker Prize. This was rectified in 2010 by the awarding of the "Lost Man Booker Prize" to J. G. Farrell's Troubles.[14]

Related awards

A separate prize for which any living author in the world may qualify, the Man Booker International Prize, was inaugurated in 2005 and is awarded biennially. A Russian version of the Booker Prize was created in 1992 called the Booker-Open Russia Literary Prize, also known as the Russian Booker Prize. In 2007, Man Group Plc and the Hong Kong Literary Festival Ltd established the Man Asian Literary Prize, an annual literary award given to the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English, and published in the previous calendar year.

Cheltenham Booker Prize

As part of The Times' Literature Festival in Cheltenham, a Booker event is held on the last Saturday of the festival. Four guest speakers/judges debate a shortlist of four books from a given year from before the introduction of the Booker prize, and a winner is chosen. Unlike the real Man Booker, authors from outside the Commonwealth are also considered. In 2008, the winner for 1948 was Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country, beating Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter and Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One.

See also

Book collection.jpg Novels portal


  1. ^ Booker Prize: rules Retrieved 3 September 2009
  2. ^ The Booker's Big Bang, New Statesman, 9 October 2008 Retrieved 3 September 2009
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Man Booker Prize: a history of controversy, criticism and literary greats", The Guardian, 18 Oct 2011
  4. ^ Booker Prize: legal information Retrieved 3 September 2009
  5. ^ The Lost Man Booker Prize announced Retrieved 31 January 2010
  6. ^ Yates, Emma. Booker Prize longlist announced for first time. The Guardian. 15 August 2001.
  7. ^ a b Michael White, "Berger's black bread", The Guardian; Nov 25, 1972; Section:None; Page Number:11
  8. ^ "Lord of the novel wins the Booker prize", The Guardian, 22 October 1980; Front page, page 1.
  9. ^ "A novel way of striking a 12,000 Booker Prize bargain", Guardian, 14 Oct 1981. Page 14.
  10. ^ "Novel way to run a lottery", Guardian, Sep 5, 1994, Page 22.
  11. ^ John, Mullan (12 July 2008). "Lives & letters, Where are they now?". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  12. ^ Best of the Booker, The Guardian, 21 February 2008 Retrieved 3 September 2009
  13. ^ Rushdie wins Best of Booker prize, BBC News, 10 July 2008 Retrieved 3 September 2009
  14. ^ Melvern, Jack (20 May 2010). "J G Farrell wins Booker prize for 1970, 30 year after his death". The Times. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 

Further reading

External links

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