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The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known in short as the Booker Prize, is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations, Irelandmarker, or Zimbabwemarker. The winner of the Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success and, for this reason, the prize is of great significance for the book trade. It is also a mark of distinction for authors to be nominated for the Booker longlist or selected for inclusion in the shortlist.

History and Administration

The prize was originally known as the Booker-McConnell Prize after the company Booker-McConnell began sponsoring the event in 1968, and 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. 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.


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 Guildhallmarker, usually in early October.

Booker Prize winners

In 1993, the Booker of Bookers Prize was awarded to Salman Rushdie for Midnight's Children (the 1981 winner), as the best novel to win the award in the first 25 years of its existence. A similar prize known as The Best of the Booker was awarded in 2008 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the prize - this was also won by Midnight's Children. The 2009 recipient of the Booker Prize was Englishmarker author Hilary Mantel, for her novel Wolf Hall.

Year Author Country Title
1969 P. H. Newby United Kingdommarker Something to Answer For
1970 Bernice Rubens United Kingdommarker The Elected Member
1971 V. S. Naipaul Trinidad and Tobagomarker/United Kingdommarker In a Free State
1972 John Berger United Kingdommarker G.
1973 J. G. Farrell United Kingdommarker The Siege of Krishnapur
1974 Nadine Gordimer

Stanley Middleton
South Africa

United Kingdommarker
The Conservationist

1975 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala United Kingdommarker/Germanymarker Heat and Dust
1976 David Storey United Kingdommarker Saville
1977 Paul Scott United Kingdommarker Staying On
1978 Iris Murdoch Irelandmarker/United Kingdommarker The Sea, the Sea
1979 Penelope Fitzgerald United Kingdommarker Offshore
1980 William Golding United Kingdommarker Rites of Passage
1981 Salman Rushdie Indiamarker Midnight's Children
1982 Thomas Keneally Australia Schindler's Ark
1983 J. M. Coetzee South Africa Life & Times of Michael K
1984 Anita Brookner United Kingdommarker Hotel du Lac
1985 Keri Hulme New Zealandmarker The Bone People
1986 Kingsley Amis United Kingdommarker The Old Devils
1987 Penelope Lively United Kingdommarker Moon Tiger
1988 Peter Carey Australia Oscar and Lucinda
1989 Kazuo Ishiguro United Kingdommarker/Japanmarker The Remains of the Day
1990 A. S. Byatt United Kingdommarker Possession: A Romance
1991 Ben Okri Nigeriamarker The Famished Road
1992 Michael Ondaatje

Barry Unsworth
Sri Lankamarker/Canadamarker

United Kingdommarker
The English Patient

Sacred Hunger
1993 Roddy Doyle Irelandmarker Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1994 James Kelman United Kingdommarker How Late It Was, How Late
1995 Pat Barker United Kingdommarker The Ghost Road
1996 Graham Swift United Kingdommarker Last Orders
1997 Arundhati Roy Indiamarker The God of Small Things
1998 Ian McEwan United Kingdommarker Amsterdam
1999 J. M. Coetzee South Africa Disgrace
2000 Margaret Atwood Canadamarker The Blind Assassin
2001 Peter Carey Australia True History of the Kelly Gang
2002 Yann Martel Canadamarker Life of Pi
2003 DBC Pierre Australia/Mexicomarker Vernon God Little
2004 Alan Hollinghurst United Kingdommarker The Line of Beauty
2005 John Banville Irelandmarker The Sea
2006 Kiran Desai Indiamarker The Inheritance of Loss
2007 Anne Enright Irelandmarker The Gathering
2008 Aravind Adiga Indiamarker The White Tiger
2009 Hilary Mantel United Kingdommarker Wolf Hall

Booker facts and statistics

  • Each publisher's imprint may submit two titles. In addition, previous winners of the prize and those who have been shortlisted in the previous five years are automatically considered. Books may also be called in: publishers can make written representations to the judges to consider titles in addition to those already entered. In the 21st century the average number of books considered by the judges has been approximately 130.

  • The list of books making the longlist was first released in 2001. In 2003 there were 23 books on the longlist, in 2002 there were 20 and in 2001 there were 24.
  • For the first 35 years of the Booker, there were only five years when fewer than six books were on the shortlist, and two years (1980 and 1981) when there were seven on the shortlist.
  • As of (2003):
    • Over the first 35 years there were a total of 201 novels from 135 authors on the shortlists.
    • Of the 97 novelists nominated once, there were 13 winners and three joint winners.
    • Of the 19 novelists nominated twice, there were seven winners and one two-time winner (J. M. Coetzee).
    • Of the 10 novelists nominated three times, there were four winners, one joint winner and one two-time winner (Peter Carey).
    • Of the five four-time nominees, all but one have won once. They are Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Thomas Keneally, Penelope Fitzgerald and William Trevor (never won).
    • There have been three five-time nominees: Margaret Atwood (first nominated in 1986 and won in 2000), Beryl Bainbridge (nominated twice in the 1970s and three times in the 1990s, but she has never won), and Ian McEwan (first nominated in 1981 and won in 1998).
    • There has been only one six-time nominee, Iris Murdoch, who won on her fourth nomination in 1978 and was nominated twice more in the 1980s.
  • Including authors with dual citizenship, the United Kingdommarker has the most winners of the prize at 25. Second is Australia with six winners (counting both Coetzee and Carey twice); Irelandmarker and Indiamarker each have four winners.

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, which seeks entries from Asian writers for works that are yet to be published in English.

Cheltenham Booker Prize

As part of the Times' Literature Festival in Cheltenham, a 'Booker' event is held on the last Saturday. 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, foreign authors are allowed. 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


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