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 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 5 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
General election: Conservatives mocked online over Boris Johnson's claim of SNP 'jockalypse'
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...