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The Man Booker Prize

  • For the Man Booker International Prize, click here

 

The Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969. It has been sponsored by Man Group plc since 2002, when it was renamed the Man Booker Prize. The Prize was set up by a company called Booker, who were at the time one of Britain's largest cash and carry companies and owners of the Budgens supermarket chain. (At around the same time, they also acquired the rights to the back catalogue of Ian Fleming.)

Until 2013, only original English-language fiction written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland was eligible. From 2014 onwards, original English-language works by any writer, regardless of nationality, will be eligible.

The number of titles each imprint at a publishing house is entitled to submit is determined by the number of their books that have featured on the longlist in the previous five years. Publishers with 5 or more longlisted titles can submit 4 titles, those with 3 or 4 can submit 3; 1 or 2 longlisted titles allows 2 entries. Those without longlisted titles may only submit one. Self-published works are not eligible.

In addition to these, any previous winner or any author shortlisted in the previous five years gains automatic entry. Judges may also call in eight to twelve further books that they feel should be considered. Each judge reads every entry, usually around 140 books.

The Man Booker judges change each year and are selected from critics, writers, academics and public figures. They announce a longlist of 12 or 13 (in earlier times the list was often much longer) in late July or early August, a shortlist of six in September and the winner in October. The Prize has been split between two books twice, but the rules were changed after the second instance in 1992 and the judges must now pick a single winner. The prize is £50,000, as well as guaranteed sales of hundreds of thousands or more all around the world. It's also the only long-running literary award in the UK where every winner remains in in print.

Hilary Mantel's two winnersThree authors have won twice, J M Coetzee, Peter Carey and Hilary Mantel. Coetzee is one of four winners to go on to be awarded a Nobel Prize, the others being V S Naipaul, William Golding and Nadine Gordimer. The late Beryl Bainbridge gained notoriety as the eternal 'Booker bridesmaid', shortlisted on five occasions without winning. Iris Murdoch made the shortlist on six occasions, but was rewarded with the Prize in 1978.

Debut authors have won on four occasions: neither Keri Hulme nor Arundhati Roy have written fiction since and the victories for D B C Pierre and Aravind Adiga left many commentators suggesting that the judges had been seduced more by sensationalism and novelty than the literary skill that more seasoned writers tend to offer.

Given the importance of the Prize to sales and to the reputations of both writers and judges, it is not surprising that few years pass without controversy of some sort. Malcolm Muggeridge withdrew as a judge in 1971 after reading submissions left him 'nauseated and appalled'. Patrick White's The Twyborn Affair was withdrawn from the 1979 shortlist at the author's request: White said he wanted to give younger writers a chance. (The award went to the then 65-year-old Penelope Fitzgerald.)

In 1991, Nicholas Mosley walked out, saying that he didn't like any of the shortlisted titles. In 1994, Julia Neuberger chose to disassociate herself altogether from the winner, James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late. 2011 proved particularly controversial, with judge Chris Mullins' comment that the panel was primarily looking for books that 'zip along' provoking much media comment about the apparent promotion of 'readability' over literary merit.

The 2015 winner was Marlon James for A Brief History of Seven Killings.

The 2016 longlist was announced on 27th July 2016 and the shortlist was revealed on 13 September. The winner was Paul Beatty, the first American to win the prize, for his satire, The Sellout. Chair of judges Amanda Foreman was joined on the 2016 panel of judges by Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. Exclusively at Foyles you can read this year's Chair of Judges Amanda Foreman talking about the selection process.  On announcing the prize, Amanda Foreman said ‘The Sellout is a novel for our times. A tirelessly inventive modern satire, its humour disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.’

One-off awards

Midnight's ChildrenTo mark the 25th anniversary of the Prize in 1993, three former judges were asked to pick their 'Booker of Bookers' from the previous winners. They chose Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, the book which was also named the Best of the Booker on the 40th anniversary.

In 2010 a one-off prize, the Lost Man Booker Prize was awarded to J G Farrell for his novel, The Troubles, which missed out at the time because the Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became - as it is today - a prize for the best novel of the same year, meaning that most fiction released in 1970 was never eligible.

In 2011, the public were invited to vote for their favourite book of Beryl Bainbridge's five shortlisted entries: the Man Booker Beryl was awarded to her 1998 entry, Master Georgie.

2016 Shortlist

Sellout
(Paperback)
Paul Beatty
 
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Hot Milk
(Hardback)
Deborah Levy
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His Bloody Project
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Graeme Macrae Burnet
 
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Eileen: Shortlisted for the Man ...
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Ottessa Moshfegh
 
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Do Not Say We Have Nothing
(Paperback)
Madeleine Thien
 
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2016 longlist

Sellout
(Paperback)
Paul Beatty
 
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016, The Sellout is the most important novel of 2016
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The Schooldays of Jesus
(Hardback)
J. M. Coetzee
 
David is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simon and Ines take care of him in their new town Estrella. He is learning the language. But he'll be...
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Serious Sweet: Longlisted for the Man...
(Hardback)
A. L. Kennedy
 
A good man in a bad world, Jon Sigurdsson is 59 and divorced: a senior civil servant in Westminster who loathes his work for a government engaged in unmentionable acts...
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Hot Milk
(Hardback)
Deborah Levy
Today I dropped my laptop on the concrete floor. It was tucked under my arm and slid out of its black rubber sheath, landing screen-side down. The digital page shattered...
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His Bloody Project
(Paperback)
Graeme Macrae Burnet
 
A brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There's no question that...
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The North Water
(Hardback)
Ian McGuire
 
A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp and highly original tale that grips like a thriller
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Hystopia
(Hardback)
David Means
 
At the bitter end of the 1960s, after surviving multiple assassination attempts, President John F Kennedy has created a vast federal agency, the Psych Corps, dedicated to maintaining the nation's...
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The Many
(Paperback)
Wyl Menmuir
 
On the surface, his move to the isolated village on the coast makes perfect sense. But the experience is an increasingly unsettling one for Timothy Bucchanan. A dead man no...
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Work Like Any Other: Longlisted for...
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Virginia Reeves
 
From an astonishing new voice, this debut charts the life of Roscoe T Martin, first as a farm owner with a fractured family, then as prison inmate...
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My Name is Lucy Barton
(Hardback)
Elizabeth Strout
 
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit...
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All That Man is: Shortlisted for the...
(Hardback)
David Szalay
 
Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving - in the suburbs of Prague, beside a...
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Do Not Say We Have Nothing
(Paperback)
Madeleine Thien
 
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016
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Previous winners

2015 A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

2014 The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

2013 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

2012 Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

2011 The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

2010 The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

2009 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

2008 The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

2007 The Gathering by Anne Enright

2006 The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

2005 The Sea by John Banville

2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel

2001 The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

1999 Disgrace by JM Coetzee

1998 Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift

1995 The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

1994 How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman

1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje AND Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

1991 The Famished Road by Ben Okri

1990 Possession by AS Byatt

1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

1986 The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

1985 The Bone People by Keri Hulme

1984 Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

1983 The Life and Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee

1982 Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

1980 Rites of Passage by William Golding

1979 Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald

1978 The Sea the Sea by Iris Murdoch

1977 Staying on by Paul Scott

1976 Saville by David Storey

1975 Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

1974 Holiday by Stanley Middleton AND The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer

1973 The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell

1972 G by John Berger

1971 In a Free State by V.S.Naipaul

1970 The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens

1969 Something to Answer For by PH Newby

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