Booker Prize: McEwan wins with satire on morals
Booker Prize: Fifth disappointment for Bainbridge as 'Amsterdam' surprises the critics in 30th anniversary year
Wednesday 28 October 1998
McEwan's victory, aftershortlistings in 1981 and 1992, meant a fifth disappointment for Beryl Bainbridge. Her novel Master Georgie, which follows a motley group of characters from Liverpool to the Crimean War, had been tipped as the book that would finally break her Booker duck.
After his triumph, McEwan paid tribute to Bainbridge's generosity. "She gave me a great hug, and she has a great heart. I hope I would have given her a great hug too."
Asked about Bainbridge's many near misses, Martyn Goff, Booker Prize administrator, stressed that the judges had "the constant feeling" that they must not be influenced one way or another by her past record.
Amsterdam, a short, satirical novel, follows a quartet of much darker and more experimental works by McEwan. It traces the consequences of a pact made by three Establishment figures at the funeral of a former lover of them all.
Interviewing McEwan for The Independent, Robert Hanks described the book as "a decisive break with the past". McEwan himself then called its writing "a real holiday". After his victory the writer took a rather different line. He emphasised that "I was very seriously engaged by this book. Do not be deceived by its length."
Amsterdam's principal characters are a composer, a politician and the editor of a broadsheet newspaper. Since McEwan attended editorial conferences at The Observer, commentators have suggested that the fictional editor, Vernon Halliday, resembles the ousted Observer editor Will Hutton. McEwan denied this, stating that his fictional paper The Judge "is based on every broadsheet that I have ever read".
Amsterdam is published by Cape, and Beryl Bainbridge's Master Georgie by Duckworth. The other shortlisted titles were England, England by Julian Barnes (Kate); The Industry of Souls by Martin Booth (Dewi Lewis); Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe (Picador); and The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills (Flamingo).
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£300 - £400 per day: Argyll Scott International: I am currently recruiting on ...
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Field Based Sales Surveyor is...
£6000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI De...
£270 - £300 per annum: Investigo: An exciting opportunity to join an internati...