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10 Man Booker Prize Facts

Posted on 15th September 2015 by Sally Campbell
This year’s winner is yet to be announced – we have cherry-picked the best Booker facts, while you wait.
  1. The breakdown of winners’ genders so far, since the award began in 1969: Women – 16, Men - 30       

  2. The first time women outnumbered men on the longlist:  2013. The first time William Hill offered odds on whether the winner would be male or female: 2013

  3. Eyebrows were raised when…Kingsley Amis’s Ending Up was shortlisted by panel that included his wife, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard in1974. (He didn’t win.)

  4. In 1977, Philip Larkin threatened to jump out of a window if Paul Scott’s Staying On didn’t win. (Luckily, it did.) 

  5. Eleanor Catton, aged just 28, became the youngest ever winner with The Luminaries in 2013. Ben Okri previously held the title – winning at the age of 32 in 1991.  

  6. Family matters: Anita Desai has been shortlisted three times – her daughter Kiran's novel The Inheritance of Loss won the prize in 2006. Martin Amis has been short-and longlisted – his father Kingsley won the Booker in 1986. 

  7. Jonathan Cape is the publisher with the highest number of winning titles, with eight winners* (including The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes), followed by Faber with six. 

  8. Two authors have won the prize with their first and, so far, only novels: Keri Hulme, with The Bone People in 1985 and Arundhati Roy, with The God of Small Things in 1997. 

  9. Initially, The Booker Prize awarded £5,000 to its winners. This doubled in 1978 to £10,000. Today the winner receives £50,000 (each of the shortlisted authors receives £2,500). 

  10. And the big Question: what do they spend their winnings on? In 1990, AS Byatt announced she would buy a swimming pool for her house in Provence, whilst Ian McEwan said in 1998 that he would probably spend the money on ‘something perfectly useless’, rather than fritter it away on things like ‘bus fares and linoleum’. When Howard Jacobson won in 2010, he promised to buy his wife a new handbag.


    (*) The eight Jonathan Cape titles were: The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes in 2011, The Gathering by Anne Enright in 2007, Amsterdam by Ian McEwan in 1998,The Famished Road by Ben Okri in 1991, Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner in 1984, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie in 1981, Saville by David Storey in 1976 and The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer in 1974.


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