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Man Booker Prize 50th anniversary celebrations unveiled for 2018

Man Booker Prize 50th anniversary celebrations unveiled for 2018

In 2018, the Man Booker Prize celebrates 50 years of the finest fiction with year-long anniversary celebrations and a campaign to introduce new audiences to its winning, shortlisted and longlisted authors. The Booker Prize Foundation, with sponsorship from Man Group, is running a range of global activities to engage the public in the rich heritage of the leading literary award in the English-speaking world, and inspire readers and writers for the next 50 years.

Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, commented:

‘The Man Booker Prize is a banner for the power of books. It is a barometer of our creative vitality. In this landmark 50th year, we will be celebrating great writers and brilliant books so that we can draw more and more readers into the wonder of literature and the joys of readership. The right book can be a liberator, a healing potion or a stimulant better than any drug.’

Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, said:

‘The anniversary of the Man Booker Prize marks half a century in celebration of literary excellence. We are delighted to have played a meaningful role in supporting this important and progressive literature prize, which enhances the lives of many. At Man Group, we take our responsibility extremely seriously when it comes to supporting initiatives which further education, literacy and creative enterprise. It is a powerful testimony to the Booker Prize Foundation that the Man Booker Prizes have become more relevant and far-reaching than ever before and, on this anniversary, that they continue to inspire the readers and writers of the future.’

The flagship event, run in partnership with Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts centre, is the unmissable Fiction at its Finest Festival. The festival will run from 6 to 8 July 2018 across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site in London. Events will be held in a variety of spaces, including Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Rooms. They will range from interviews and conversations between Man Booker winning and shortlisted authors, to debates and masterclasses. The full programme will be available from February 2018 when tickets go on sale.

Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer, Literature and Spoken Word, Southbank Centre, said:

‘At the height of this milestone year, we’re thrilled to present this culminating moment at Southbank Centre, building on many years of close collaboration and drawing on decades of unforgettable fiction. It has been a privilege pairing past winners and luminaries with recently honoured authors and innovators to shape a festival that reflects both the prodigious depth of the prize and its continuing relevance. This packed programme of events, talks and performances offers a rare chance to hear from leading authors of the last half century who have, with each passing year of the prize, expanded the possibilities of the novel itself, and through distinctive and irresistible prose, imagined the world anew.’

The Man Booker Prize has also teamed up with literary festivals across the world for 2018 to bring the celebrations to a global audience. In January, Michael Ondaatje, joint winner of the 1992 prize for The English Patient, will appear at Jaipur Literary Festival, while Fiona Mozley, shortlisted earlier this year for Elmet, is confirmed to speak at the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias. In April, 2013 winner Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, will appear at the Trinidad and Tobago BOCAS Literary Festival and over the summer Margaret Atwood, who won in 2000 for The Blind Assassin will be at Hay-on-Wye. Further appearances will be announced in the new year.

To commemorate five decades of the prize, a 50th anniversary diary has been created for 2018 in association with Third Millennium Publishing. Described by The Bookseller as ‘the perfect gift for any book lover,’ and highlighted in the Guardian’s Most Wanted selection, it is an illustrated week-to-view diary featuring all the jackets of the winners, details of the shortlists, as well as a look behind the scenes at the world's leading literary prize, with all its debate, comment and controversy. It is available to buy now from all good retailers.

The BBC is the prize’s broadcast partner and will air a range of programmes around the anniversary and the Fiction at its Finest Festival in 2018. Additional partnerships and initiatives will be announced in the new year.

The Booker Prize was born in 1968. Publishers Tom Maschler and Graham C. Greene approached the predecessor of what is now the food wholesaler Booker PLC for sponsorship of an English-language equivalent of the French Prix Goncourt, which had done so much to stimulate public interest in fiction in France. Booker was already involved in the world of books through the ownership of literary copyright of authors including Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie and was happy to support the launch of the prize. The first winner was Something to Answer For by P.H. Newby in 1969. The book immediately appeared on the Evening Standard bestseller list – the first time that a British novel had done so solely as the result of winning a prize.

In 2002, Booker transferred the Booker Prize to a new, independent charity, the Booker Prize Foundation, which assumed responsibility for the prize. Man Group’s sponsorship of the prize began in the same year, and it became the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.

To hear the most up-to-date news on the prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, to learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, please visit:

@ManBookerPrize |#ManBooker50


For all press enquiries please contact:

Four Colman Getty on +44(0)20 3697 4200

Hannah Davies

Alice Furse  


Notes to Editors


  • Images, including the Man Booker Prize anniversary logo, archive photographs and images of the diary are available here. Prize branding has been evolved for the anniversary year, with the Man Booker Prize logo to feature a 50th bookmark. The brand colours for the year are pink for the spring Man Booker International Prize, slate grey for the autumn Man Booker Prize, and a special rose gold foil for the logo when featured in print.


  • Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up


  • The Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood. The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor of The Economist and 1843


  • George Saunders won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury Publishing). Bloomsbury issued an immediate reprint of 100,000 copies, along with the publication of a special Waterstones’ edition. In the week following the 2017 winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo increased by 1227%. The book was announced as the Sunday Times’ Novel of the Year


  • In 2018, the Man Booker Prize will be chaired by philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah. The full judging panel will be announced before Christmas.


  • The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group’s sponsorship began, and since 2002 it has been called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It would be greatly appreciated if you could ensure that your editorial is factually correct by referring to the prize’s full title at least once, if not in the headline, then in your next subsequent mention.  For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website:


  • The Man Booker International Prize is awarded annually in May for the best single work of fiction translated into English and published in the UK. The £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator receives £1,000. The 2017 winner was A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen. Chaired by author and cultural commentator Lisa Appignanesi OBE, the 2018 panel consists of: translator Michael Hofmann; novelist and essayist Hari Kunzru; critic Tim Martin; and novelist and short story writer Helen Oyeyemi. The winner will be announced on 22 May 2018


  • The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC – Chair, former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Ben Okri – writer and 1991 Booker Prize winner; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation and Sir Ronald Harwood, Baroness Neuberger and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne are Vice Presidents


  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Mark Chilton – Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Jonty Claypole – Head of Arts, BBC; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson – writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Adam Freudenheim – publisher, Pushkin Press; Derek Johns – Author & Literary Agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Rosanna Konarzewski – Man Group plc; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor, The Economist and 1843 and Man Booker International Prize Administrator; Michal Shavit – publishing director, Jonathan Cape; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Boyd Tonkin – writer and critic. It is chaired by Gaby Wood, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation


  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002 and the Man Booker International Prize since its inception in 2005. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and creativity. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prizes play a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support


  • Man Group is an active investment management firm focused on delivering performance and client portfolio solutions through its five investment management businesses: Man AHL; Man Numeric; Man GLG; Man FRM and Man Global Private Markets. Man Group’s investment management businesses provide long-only, alternative and private markets products on a single and multi-manager basis, leveraging the firm’s robust infrastructure to provide a diverse range of strategies across investment approaches, styles and asset classes. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. As at 30 September 2017, Man Group’s funds under management were $103.5 billion. Man Group also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at


  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses


  • The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss). The Foundation funds the production of the shortlisted titles in braille, giant print and audio, which the sight loss charity produces by the date the winner is announced. Accessible versions are then made have a limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them - and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB PR Team on 020 7391 2223 or


  • The Booker Prize Foundation has partnered with the National Literary Trust since 2012 to deliver Books Unlocked. The Foundation funds the programme, which has transformed the lives of prisoners and young offenders in the UK by helping them develop a love of reading. Prisoners are able to engage with high-quality writing as copies of Man Booker Prize shortlisted titles are sent out to prison reading groups. These same titles are also serialised as audiobooks on National Prison Radio, which is broadcast into c.80,000 cells, enabling still more prisoners to experience these exceptional stories. Authors go into prisons to discuss their writing directly with reading groups and many also record interviews on National Prison Radio. The shared vision for Books Unlocked is to bring about positive change in prisoners’ life chances. Further information is available at:


  • The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides


  • Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17­-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy, more information can be found here: and @southbankcentre


Four Colman Getty

December 2017