This year’s winner of the Man Booker Prize 2012 went to Hillary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies her follow up to the highly awarded Wolf Hall, which makes her the first women to win the award twice. Girl power! So what exactly is the Man Booker Prize?
The Man Booker Prize
A Little History … .
Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation states: “From the very beginning of what was originally called the Booker Prize there was just one criterion – the prize would be for ‘the best novel in the opinion of the judges”. And 42 years later that is still a key sentence in the rules.
“It is a measure of the quality of the original drafting that the main ambitions of the prize have not changed.” Unlike the Pulitzer Prize- last year they didn’t even pick an award for fiction- they left the nominees hanging in the void with their head scratching. (Many also think that the nominees and past choices of the Pulitzer have been wayward as well.) Trewin goes on to say that the aim was to increase the reading of quality fiction and to attract ‘the intelligent general audience’. Our judges are not confined to any in-group of literary critics, authors and academics, but over the years have included poets, politicians, journalists, broadcasters and actors. This ‘common man’ approach to the selection of Man Booker juries is, I believe, one of the key reasons why ‘the intelligent general audience’ trusts the prize.
The prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008 after launching in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.To maintain the consistent excellence of the Man Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.
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. Fulfilling one of the objectives of the prize – to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction – the winner and the shortlisted authors now enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales worldwide.
Julian Barnes’ Sense of An Ending won last year’s 2011 Man Booker Prize