The Man Booker Prize: facts and figures


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The Independent Online

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is into its 45th year. Read below to see some of the facts and figures surrounding the prestigious award, collated by the organisers.

It was called the Booker Prize from 1969 to 2001. P.H. Newby was the first winner of the prize in 1969 with Something to Answer For.

From 2002 the prize became the Man Booker Prize when the Man Group plc came on board as sponsor, making Yann Martel the first winner of the Man Booker Prize with Life of Pi.

Since 1969, 30 men and 15 women have taken home the prize.

The Booker Prize initially awarded £5,000 to its winners. The prize money doubled in 1978 to £10,000, and today the winner receives £50,000.

The shortest winning novel in the history of the prize was Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald, at 132 pages, in 1979. Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending were just slightly longer. In terms of length of eligible books, the rules of the prize simply state that the judges must be of the opinion that a book is a unified and substantial work.

The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ was introduced in 2007 to limit the number of books allowed on the longlist to 12 or 13 each year.  There were 13 books on the longlist in 2007 and again in 2011 and 2013. Previously the numbers were much higher: 19 in 2006; 17 in 2005; 22 in 2004 and 23 in 2003.

Ben Okri was the youngest winner in 1991 at the age of 32; Aravind Adiga was 33 when he won in 2008. Salman Rushdie was 34 when he won in 1981. Kiran Desai was the youngest woman to win the prize in 2006, aged 35.

The prize has been split between joint winners on two occasions. Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton shared the prize in 1974, whilst Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth were joint winners in 1992. As a result, the Booker Prize committee changed the rules so that only one book could win in the future.

Jonathan Cape is the publisher with the highest number of winning titles, with eight winners, Faber & Faber follows with six winning titles.

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.

A number of Booker and Man Booker winning novels have been adapted into film. Some of the best-known are Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 novel Remains of the Day and Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 novel The English Patient. Other adaptations include: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

Hilary Mantel was also the first Man Booker author to enter the official UK Top 50 at the number one spot, with the paperback edition of Bring Up the Bodies.

This year is the first time since the longlist started being released in 2001 that woman have outnumbered men on the list. On the shortlist there are four women and two men:

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Granta)

The Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador)

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (Penguin)