The Man Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English-speaking world. It aims to promote fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year published in the United Kingdom. But how did it come about, who is eligible, and who are the well-known winners?
How did the Man Booker Prize come about, and who is eligible to enter?
The prize was launched in 1969, originally named the Booker-McConnell prize after the company that sponsored it, though it was more colloquially known as the Booker. When investment company Man Group took over sponsoring the prize in 2002, they opted to keep 'Booker' in the title. They also increased the prize money to £50,000.
The prize originally went to authors from the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth but in 2013, this was extended to anyone writing in English and published in this country in a recognised imprint; self-published works are therefore not eligible.
Who picks the Man Booker Prize longlist, shortlist and winner?
The Man Booker Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Booker Prize Foundation on selection of judges, as well as on any change in the rules. The Committee members represent all aspects of the book world and includes writers, publishers, journalists and book sellers.
Judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors. The list of judges changes each year, though on rare occasions individuals have been chosen to judge on a second occasion.
There are three steps to the announcement of the Man Booker Prize winner. Since 2001, a longlist of 12 books has been unveiled in the summer - in 2017 it was announced on on July 27. This dozen was whittled down to a shortlist of six, on September 13 this year.
The shortlisted authors and titles (in brackets) for 2017 are: Paul Auster (4321), Emily Fridlund (History Of Wolves), Mohsin Hamid (Exit West), Fiona Mozley (Elmet), George Saunders (Lincoln In The Bardo) and Ali Smith (Autumn).
The winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize is announced on October 17.
What do the winners receive?
The winner of The Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all the shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book. The winner and the shortlisted authors tend to enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales worldwide, in addition to the prestige that goes with being nominated for one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes.
Since 2016, there has also been a Man Booker International Prize, awarded annually for a single work of foreign fiction, translated into English and published in the UK by a registered imprint. The prize awarded is also £50,000, but this is shared between the writer and translator.
In 1993, to mark the 25th anniversary of the prize, a Booker of Bookers was chosen. 1981 winner Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, was chosen as the best of all the Booker's early winners.
Who has won the Man Booker Prize in the past?
Well-known winners include Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (for the novel Heat and Dust, 1975), Iris Murdoch (The Sea, the Sea, 1978), Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children, 1981), Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day, 1989), Roddy Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, 1993), Ian McEwan (Amsterdam, 1998), Yann Martel (Life of Pi, 2002), and Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall, 2009 and Bring Up The Bodies, 2012).
Many winning books have been adapted into successful films, the most lauded among them Thomas Keneally's 1981 winner Schindler's Ark which, as Schindler's List, won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Steven Spielberg.
Both Mantel's winning novels - she is the only two-time winner - were later adapted into the BBC Two drama Wolf Hall in 2015. The serial, which documented the relationship between Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII, won a Golden Globe for best miniseries.