Golden Man Booker Prize
Celebrating five decades of the finest fiction
The Booker Prize Foundation today, Friday 16 February 2018, launches the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark the 50th anniversary. This special one-off award will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.
Since it was first awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize has become the leading prize for quality fiction in English, with the winning books setting a benchmark against which other novels are judged. The Golden Man Booker will put all 51 winners – which are all still in print – back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.
Five judges have been appointed to read the winning novels from each decade of the prize: writer and editor Robert McCrum (1970s); poet Lemn Sissay MBE (1980s); novelist Kamila Shamsie (1990s); broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (2000s); and poet Hollie McNish (2010s).
Each judge will choose what, in his or her opinion, is the best winner from that particular decade, and will champion that book against the other judges’ selections. The judges’ ‘Golden Five’ shortlist will be announced at the Hay Festival on 26 May 2018. The five books will then be put to a month-long public vote from 26 May to 25 June on the Man Booker Prize website to decide the overall winner, announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival on 8 July 2018.
Baroness Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments:
‘The very best fiction endures and resonates with readers long after it is written. I’m fascinated to see what our panel of excellent judges – including writers and poets, broadcasters and editors – and the readers of today make of the winners of the past, as they revisit the rich Man Booker library.’
Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:
‘We are delighted to be sponsoring the Man Booker Prize in its 50th year and celebrating outstanding fiction from the past half century, which remains as relevant and resonant as ever. The prize plays a meaningful role in recognising and supporting literary excellence that we are honoured to support.’
Saturday 26 May - The judges’ ‘Golden Five’ shortlist will be announced at an event at the Hay Festival.
Saturday 26 May to Monday 25 June - Voting for the Golden Man Booker is open to the public at www.themanbookerprize.com.
Sunday 8 July - The winner of the Golden Man Booker will announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival at Southbank Centre. There will be a public event, Man Booker Live, which will feature the judges speaking about and actors reading from the ‘Golden Five’ shortlist.
The Golden Man Booker Prize will be supported by retailers, libraries and publishers across the UK, and internationally through online promotion. Readers are already joining in revisiting the previous winners for the #ManBookerPrize50 challenge on Instagram, which encourages them to read as many of the novels as they can by the end of May for the chance to win tickets to the Man Booker 50 Festival.
The Man Booker 50 Festival will run from 6 to 8 July 2018 across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site in London. Events will be held in a variety of spaces, including Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Rooms. They will range from interviews and conversations between Man Booker winning and shortlisted authors, to debates and masterclasses. The full programme and tickets will be available soon.
The 50th anniversary will also be amplified globally with Man Booker author events at international literary festivals across the world throughout the year and supported through video, livestream and podcasts, alongside an online exhibition on the Man Booker website.
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, and learn more about the prize’s history, please visit:
@ManBookerPrize | #FinestFiction |#ManBooker50
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Robert McCrum is a writer and editor. From 1980 to 1996, he was editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, where he published Kazuo Ishiguro and Peter Carey among many others. He has written seven novels and four non-fiction books, including My Year Off documenting a serious stroke he suffered in 1995, as well as a definitive life of PG Wodehouse, and co-authoring the BBC TV series, The Story of English, which won an Emmy and a Peabody Prize. He was literary editor of the Observer from 1996 to 2010, before becoming associate editor. He left at the start of this year to pursue his own literary interests. His forthcoming book, Shakespearean, will be published in 2019 by Picador.
Lemn Sissay MBE is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics. His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London. They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. Sissay was official poet for The FA Cup 2015 and his Desert Island Discs was pick of the year for BBC Radio 4 2015. Sissay is Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Patron of The Letterbox Club, Canterbury’s Poet Laureate and he is a regular contributor to radio and television.
Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels, which have been translated into over 20 languages. They include Home Fire (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award), Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction), and A God in Every Stone (shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’, she grew up in Karachi, and now lives in London.
Simon Mayo is one of Britain's best-loved and well-known radio presenters. He has worked on BBC radio since 1981 and is now the presenter of 'Drivetime' on BBC Radio 2, which features the regular 'Book Club' show. He is also the co-presenter of "Kermode and Mayo's Film Review" on BBC Radio 5 Live. Mayo was recognized as the Radio Broadcaster of the Year at the 2008 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and has won several Sony Radio Academy Awards, including Best Music Programme for ‘Drivetime’ in 2011. Mayo has published 5 books, including his bestselling trilogy for children, Itch. His first novel for adults will be released in April this year: Mad Blood Stirring, inspired by the true story of American sailors awaiting liberation at Dartmoor Prison in 1815.
Hollie McNish has published three collections of poems Plum, Papers and Cherry Pie and one poetic memoir Nobody Told Me, of which The Scotsman suggested “The world needs this book” and for which she won the Ted Hughes Award. In 2016 she co-wrote a play Offside Sabrina Mahfouz relating the 200 year history of UK women’s football. McNish tours continuously across the UK and her poetry videos have attracted over 10 million views worldwide. She does readings for organisations as diverse as The Economist, MTV and Ronnie Scotts. She has a keen interest in migration, infant health and language learning and in 2017 she became the first patron of Baby Milk Action.
Notes to Editors
Images of the judges, the Man Booker 50th anniversary logo, and a selection of archive photographs are available here.
Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all 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 Correspondent at 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
In 2018, the Man Booker Prize will be chaired by philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist 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.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. 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 Correspondent at 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 198 business centres and a national delivery network. It serves over 441,000 catering customers, 94,000 independent retailers and 641,000 small businesses.
The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). 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. The accessible versions are then made available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss 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. 2018 is the National Literacy Trust’s 25th anniversary. For 25 years the charity has led the campaign to transform the future of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people by improving their literacy levels: literacytrust.org.uk/programmes/books-unlocked/
The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk
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