The judges of the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, are announced today, 20 December.
The panel will be chaired by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah and consists of: crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.
Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, says:
‘This year’s judging panel is not only stellar in its distinction, its members have a stunningly broad range of tastes and enthusiasms too. They are all long-standing champions of creative work who will be open to any excellent novel that may come their way, regardless of genre or geography.’
The judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.
The 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction winner was Lincoln in the Bardo by American author George Saunders, published by Bloomsbury. In the week following the winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo increased by 1227%.
The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July 2018 and the shortlist of six books in September 2018. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on 16 October 2018 at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.
In 2018, the Man Booker Prize will be celebrating 50 years of the finest fiction with year-long global anniversary celebrations. The flagship event, run in partnership with Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts centre, is the unmissable Man Booker 50 Festival from 6 to 8 July 2018.
The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm.
To hear the most up-to-date news on the prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, learn more about the prize’s history, and share your thoughts online, please visit:
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The Man Booker Prize 2018 Judges
Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair) is a British-Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist, and currently Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. Appiah is an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, Harvard and Princeton universities. In 2012 he was presented with the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. His non-fiction writing includes an award-winning collection of essays, In My Father’s House (1992), Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Stranger (2006) and The Honour Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (2010). Appiah reviews regularly for the New York Review of Books and writes a weekly column in the New York Times magazine. He is also the author of three mystery novels featuring the barrister-sleuth Sir Patrick Scott.
Val McDermid is an award-winning Scottish crime writer who has sold over 15 million books across the globe and has been translated into over 30 languages. She is perhaps best known for her Wire in the Blood series, which was adapted for television. Her numerous other books include a non-fiction work on forensics, and a modern reimagining of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. She has won many international awards, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year. A regular broadcaster with BBC Radio, her latest Radio 4 drama series, Resistance, is currently being developed as a graphic novel. She is a Celebrity Mastermind champion, and in 2016 captained the winning University Challenge alumnae team. She has previously judged the Women’s Prize for Fiction and chaired the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017.
Leo Robson is a contributing writer at the New Statesman, and, on both sides of the Atlantic, one of the leading literary and cultural critics of his generation. He has served as television critic of the Financial Times, and has contributed to a range of other publications, including the New York Review of Books, the Nation, and the Wall Street Journal. His writing for the New Yorker – on subjects ranging from Joseph Conrad to Prime Minister’s Questions – has twice been shortlisted for the Nona Balakian prize for excellence in reviewing at the US National Book Critics Circle Awards. He has previously judged the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize, and the Goldsmiths Prize.
Jacqueline Rose is professor of Humanities and co-director at Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. A distinguished and influential academic and writer, she is internationally known for her writing on feminism, psychoanalysis, literature, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her non-fiction books include Sexuality in the Field of Vision, The Haunting of Sylvia Plath, Proust Among the Nations and Women in Dark Times. Mothers – An Essay on Love and Cruelty will be published in April 2018 by Faber in the UK and Farrar, Straus in the US. She is also the author of a novel, Albertine, and writes regular essays and fiction reviews for the London Review of Books. She is a co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices in the UK and a Fellow of the British Academy.
Leanne Shapton is a Canadian artist, writer and graphic novelist. Her illustrations and book jackets – which include Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich – are instantly recognisable. Her influential novel in the form of an auction catalogue, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, was optioned by Paramount. Shapton’s book Swimming Studies won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography in 2012. She contributes text and illustrations to newspapers and magazines including The New York Times Magazine, Granta, The Paris Review and The New Yorker.
Notes to Editors
Photographs of the judges are available here
For the Man Booker Prize, UK publishers may submit novels written in English and published in the UK between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:
1 submission – publishers with no longlistings
2 submissions – publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s)
3 submissions – publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings
4 submissions – publishers with 5 or more longlistings
This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change from year to year. A new work by any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize is automatically eligible
The judges ‘call in’ a number of novels each year: in addition to their main submission, a publisher may nominate up to five titles for consideration, accompanied by a justification from the editor. The judges are required to call in no fewer than eight and no more than 12 of these titles. The judges are also permitted to call in other books published within the requisite dates, even if the book has not been submitted through any other route
Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up
The Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood. The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor of The Economist and 1843
George Saunders won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury Publishing). Bloomsbury issued an immediate reprint of 100,000 copies. In the week following the 2017 winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo increased by 1227%. The book was announced as the Sunday Times’ novel of the Year.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. The long-term future of the prize was secured in 2011 with the announcement of a renewed 10-year sponsorship from Man Group. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group’s sponsorship began, and since 2002 it has been called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It would be greatly appreciated if you could ensure that your editorial is factually correct by referring to the prize’s full title at least once, if not in the headline, then in your next subsequent mention. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website: www.themanbookerprize.com
The Man Booker International Prize is awarded annually in May for the best single work of fiction translated into English and published in the UK. The £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator receives £1,000. The 2017 winner was A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen. Chaired by author and cultural commentator Lisa Appignanesi OBE, the 2018 panel consists of: translator Michael Hofmann; novelist and essayist Hari Kunzru; critic Tim Martin; and novelist and short story writer Helen Oyeyemi. The winner will be announced on 22 May 2018
The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC – Chair, former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Ben Okri – writer and 1991 Booker Prize winner; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation and Sir Ronald Harwood, Baroness Neuberger and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne are Vice Presidents
The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Mark Chilton – Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Jonty Claypole – Head of Arts, BBC; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson – writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Adam Freudenheim – publisher, Pushkin Press; Derek Johns – Author & Literary Agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Rosanna Konarzewski – Man Group plc; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor, The Economist and 1843 and Man Booker International Prize Administrator; Michal Shavit – publishing director, Jonathan Cape; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Boyd Tonkin – writer and critic. It is chaired by Gaby Wood, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation
Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002 and the Man Booker International Prize since its inception in 2005. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and creativity. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prizes play a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support
Man Group is an active investment management firm focused on delivering performance and client portfolio solutions through its five investment management businesses: Man AHL; Man Numeric; Man GLG; Man FRM and Man Global Private Markets. Man Group’s investment management businesses provide long-only, alternative and private markets products on a single and multi-manager basis, leveraging the firm’s robust infrastructure to provide a diverse range of strategies across investment approaches, styles and asset classes. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. As at 30 September 2017, Man Group’s funds under management were $103.5 billion. Man Group also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at www.man.com
Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses
The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss). The Foundation funds the production of the shortlisted titles in braille, giant print and audio, which the sight loss charity produces by the date the winner is announced. Accessible versions are then made have a limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them - and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB PR Team on 020 7391 2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Booker Prize Foundation has partnered with the National Literary Trust since 2012 to deliver Books Unlocked. The Foundation funds the programme, which has transformed the lives of prisoners and young offenders in the UK by helping them develop a love of reading. Prisoners are able to engage with high-quality writing as copies of Man Booker Prize shortlisted titles are sent out to prison reading groups. These same titles are also serialised as audiobooks on National Prison Radio, which is broadcast into c.80,000 cells, enabling still more prisoners to experience these exceptional stories. Authors go into prisons to discuss their writing directly with reading groups and many also record interviews on National Prison Radio. The shared vision for Books Unlocked is to bring about positive change in prisoners’ life chances. Further information is available at: literacytrust.org.uk/programmes/books-unlocked/
The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides
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