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Rushdie Wins as Best of Booker Prize Celebrates it's 40th Anniversary in 2008

-A panel of six judges chose a shortlist of six from the 41 winners of the Booker Prize since it's inauguration in 1969 (joint winners in 1974 & 1992) as the Booker prize celebrated it's 40th year. 8,000 of us , the great unwashed, got to vote for the Best of the Booker via www.manbookerprize.com web site.

The overall winner of 'The Best of the Booker', Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, was announced at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre on July 10 , accompanied by a series of events debating and celebrating the prize. The winner was awarded a custom-made trophy. Details of Best Booker Shortlist>>

Man Booker Award Main Page. Details of 2007 Winners & Historic lists.

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Rushdie's Midnight's Children Wins the Best of Bookerrushdie_salman

London, 10th July, 2008- British author Salman Rushdie has won the Best of the Booker to mark the 40th anniversary of one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.

Midnight's Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, and the Indian-born writer was the hot favourite to take the special award decided by the public in an online poll.

Tmidnights_childrenhe 61-year-old, whose 1988 novel The Satanic Verses outraged many Muslims and prompted death threats against him, also won the 25th anniversary Booker prize in 1993.

Rushdie, in the United States on a book tour topromote his new book, The Enchantress of Florence, could not accept his trophy in London - said it was marvellous news.

"I'm absolutely delighted and would like to thank all those readers around the world who voted for Midnight's Children, he added in a statement.

Victoria Glendinning, chair of the panel who drew up a shortlist, said she agrees with the readers choice.

"The readers have spoken in their thousands. And we do believe that they have made the right choice."

Criticisms

But there was some criticism of the award, partly because the choice was narrowed to just six nominees.

"It's an artificial exercise, simply because the general public only got to pick from six of the previous winners," said Jonathan Ruppin, promotions manager at Foyles bookshop.

"Readers have not been able to vote for some of their most enduring favourites," he added, mentioning, among others, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day.

Around 8,000 people from around the world took part in the online poll, and Midnight's Children won 36 per cent of votes.

At least half the voters were under 35, and the largest age group was 25-34, "a reflection of the ongoing interest in quality fiction amongst readers of all ages", organisers said.

Midnight's Children an example of Rushdie's magical realist style, follows Saleem Sinai who is born on the stroke of midnight on the day of India's independence in 1947 and whose life loosely parallels the fortunes of his nascent country.

Some critics believe it is Rushdie's finest work, eclipsing subsequent novels includingThe Satanic Verses, for which he remains best known.

What was perceived to be its questioning of te tenets of Islam led to book burnings of The Satanic Verses and riots across the Muslim world culminating in a death edict against Rushdie by Iran's supreme religious leader, forcing the author into hiding for nine years.

The other nominees included literary heavyweights like Nobel Prize winners JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer, both born in South Africa.

The full list comprised Rushdie, Pat Barker (The Ghost Road), Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda), Coetzee (Disgrace), JG Farrell (The Siege of Krishnapur) and Nadine Gordimer's (The Conservationist ).

Both Coetzee and Carey have won the Booker Prize twice.

The Booker rewards the best novel each year by a writer from Britain, Ireland or a Commonwealth country.

Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children ( Cape; paperback Vintage)- Booker Winner 1981, Best of Booker 2008, Booker 25th Anniversary Winner 1994.

India, 1857--the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned in bloody rebellion on their British overlords. This time of convulsion is the subject of J. G. Farrell's "The Siege of Krishnapur," widely considered one of the finest British novels of the last fifty years.
Farrell's story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumors of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion--at once brutal, blundering, and wistful--is soon revealed. "The Siege of Krishnapur" is a companion to "Troubles," about the Easter 1916 rebellion in Ireland, and "The Singapore Grip," which takes place just before World War II, as the sun begins to set upon the British Empire. Together these three novels offer an unequaled picture of the follies of empire.

Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and found himself mysteriously 'handcuffed to history' by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent - and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times. Through Saleem's gifts - inner ear and wildly sensitive sense of smell - we are drawn into a fascinating family saga set against the vast, colourful background of the India of the 20th century.

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About the Author

Salman Rushdie (right above) is the author of eight novels, one collection of short stories, and four works of non-fiction, and the co-editor of The Vintage Book of Indian Writing. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. The Moor's Last Sigh won the Whitbread Prize in 1995, and the European Union's Aristelon Prize for Literature in 1996. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.

Pat Barker Makes the Cut in Best of Booker Ever -

Go to description of finalists

barker_patThe Best of the Booker, a one-off celebratory award to mark the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize, has announced it's short list(12 May 2008) and Pat Barker (left) has made the cut with her 1995 winner, The Ghost Road. She is second favourite behind the short priced Midnight's Children (6/4) and in front of third favourite. Australian Peter Carey's (below right), 1988 winner Oscar and Lucinda.

The six shortlisted books, chosen from the list of 41 Booker Prize and Man Booker Prize winners, are: (links to amazon books)

Pat Barker's The Ghost Road (The Regeneration Trilogy) (1995, Viking; paperback Penguin)

Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda (1988, Faber & Faber; paperback Faber)

JM Coetzee's Disgrace (1999, Secker & Warburg; paperback Vintage)carepeter

JG Farrell's The Siege of Krishnapur (1973, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, paperback Phoenix)

Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist (1974, Cape; paperback Bloomsbury)

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981, Cape; paperback Vintage)

The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges - the biographer, novelist and critic Victoria Glendinning, (Chair); writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, and John Mullan, Professor of English at University College, London.

Victoria Glendinning comments: 'It was a great experience, revisiting all the Booker and Man Booker Prize winners, and very tough arriving at the shortlist - but we really feel that the six novels we picked represent the best fiction-writing of the past 40 years and that each one of them will stand the test of time. As to which of the six is the most important, and the most enjoyable, the Best of Booker - that is up to the readers to decide.'

The Final Six - Book Descriptions

 

the_ghost_roadPat Barker The Ghost Road (The Regeneration Trilogy)( Viking; paperback Penguin) _ Booker Winner 1995

The Ghost Road is the shattering conclusion of Pat barker's brilliant World War I trilogy. Set in the final months of the war, The Ghost Road focuses on Dr. William Rovers, the compassionate psychiatrist of Regeneration and Lt. Billy Prior, last seen as a domestic intelligence agent in The Eye in the Door. "A triumph of imagination".--Publisher's Weekly.

About the author
Novelist Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in Yorkshire, England, on 8 May 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics, where she read International History, and at Durham University. She taught History and Politics until 1982. She began to write in her mid-twenties and was encouraged to pursue her career as a writer by the novelist Angela Carter. Her early novels dealt with the harsh lives of working-class women living in the north of England. Her first book, Union Street (1982) won the Fawcett Society Book Prize, while her second, Blow Your House Down (1984), was adapted for the stage by Sarah Daniels in 1994. The Century's Daughter (re-published as Liza's England in 1996) was published in 1986, followed by The Man Who Wasn't There in 1989.

In 1983 she was named as one of the 20 'Best Young British Novelists' in a promotion run by the Book Marketing Council and Granta magazine. Her trilogy of novels about the First World War, which began with Regeneration in 1991, was partly inspired by her grandfather's experiences fighting in the trenches in France. Regeneration was made into a film in 1997 starring Jonathan Pryce and James Wilby. The Eye in the Door (1993), the second novel in the trilogy, won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in the series, won the Booker Prize for Fiction. Another World (1998), although set in contemporary Newcastle, is overshadowed by the memories of an old man who fought in the First World War.

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oscar_lucinda_cover

Peter Carey Oscar and Lucinda ( Faber & Faber; paperback Faber) - Booker Winner 1988

ISBN: 0571153046 EAN: 9780571153046

Set onboard an ocean liner travelling to Australia in 1864, this novel is both a love story and an historical tour-de-force that relates the developing romance between Oscar Hopkins, an Oxford seminarian, and Lucinda Leplastrier, a Sydney heiress with a fascination for glass. Australian writer Peter Carey is the author of a selection of short stories, "The Fat Man in History" and two novels, "Bliss" and "Illywhacker"

About the author Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, Australia, in 1943. He studied Science at Monash University, and wrote advertising copy to support himself during the early part of his literary career. Australian identity and historical context play a part in several of his literary works.

He began by writing surreal short stories, and published two collections, War Crimes (1979), and The Fat Man in History (1980). These stories, along with three previously uncollected works, are all included in his Collected Stories (1995).

He then wrote 3 novels: Bliss (1981), about an advertising executive who has an out-of-body experience; Illywhacker (1985), a huge vision of Australian history told through the memoirs of a 100-year old confidence man or "illywhacker"; and Oscar and Lucinda (1988), a complex symbolic tale of the arrival of Christianity in Australia. Although not a science fiction writer as such, there are some elements of this in his writing, particularly in Illywhacker, which led to this novel receiving the Ditmar Award for Best Australian Science Fiction Novel and being shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, both in 1986. Illywhacker was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1985, and three years later, Oscar and Lucinda won the same prize.

While writing his next novel, The Tax Inspector (1991), Peter Carey moved to New York, and has since written four further novels: The Unusual Life of Tristran Smith (1994); Jack Maggs (1997), billed as a re-imagining of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; True History of the Kelly Gang (2001), told in fictional letters from the Australian outlaw and folk hero Ned Kelly to his estranged daughter; and My Life as a Fake (2003), a story centred around a literary hoax which gripped Australia in the 1940s. Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang both won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) and with True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey won the Booker Prize for Fiction for the second time, in 2001.

Peter Carey wrote the script for the Wim Wenders film, Until the End of the World (1992), and co-wrote with Ray Lawrence, the screenplay for the film adaptation of Bliss (1985). Oscar and Lucinda was also adapted for film in 1997, with a screenplay written by Laura Jones.

He has also written a children's book, The Big Bazoohley (1995) and a non-fiction book, 30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account (2001). Wrong about Japan (2005), is a memoir/travelogue of the author's journey through Japan with his son Charley and their attempts to understand the Japanese culture and heritage.

Peter Carey still lives in New York, where he teaches Creative Writing at New York University. He has been awarded three honorary degrees and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Australian Academy of Humanities and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His latest novels are Theft: A Love Story (2006); and His Illegal Self (2008).

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disgraceJM Coetzee Disgrace (1999, Secker & Warburg; paperback Vintage) - Booker Winner 1999

Set in post-apartheid Cape Town, Professor David Laurie attempts to relate to his daughter, Lucy, and to a society with new racial complexities. But that is disrupted by an afternoon of violence that changes him and his daughter in ways he could never have foreseen. Coetzee is the only writer awarded the Booker Prize twice, and this work is a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle Awards.

Publisher Marketing:

-- Disgrace -- one of only four works of fiction -- was chosen by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the eleven Best Books of the Year
-- A New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Village Voice Literary Supplement, Wordstock, Ingrain, and Independent bestseller
-- A Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and QuaLity Paperback Book Club
-- A finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Awards

the_conservationistNadine Gordimer's The Conservationist ( Cape; paperback Bloomsbury)- Booker Winner 1974

Synopsis:
Mehring, a wealthy, dominating South African industrialist moves to preserve his way of life, his power, and his possessions in the face of massive injustice and suffering, changing times, and death.


Review:
"Nadine Gordimer has written a masterpiece in 'The Conservationist,' a brilliant study of a wealthy, white industrialist in South Africa, a dealer in base metals, whose self-definition depends upon random and unsuitable sexual encounters, unlimited meditations upon death, and alienation from his family while his so-called primitive neighbors play out their lives among their kin in labor, custom, and ceremony." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

JG Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur ( Weidenfeld & Nicolson, paperback Phoenix) - Booker siege_of_krishnapurWinner 1973

India, 1857--the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned in bloody rebellion on their British overlords. This time of convulsion is the subject of J. G. Farrell's "The Siege of Krishnapur," widely considered one of the finest British novels of the last fifty years.
Farrell's story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumours of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion--at once brutal, blundering, and wistful--is soon revealed. "The Siege of Krishnapur" is a companion to "Troubles," about the Easter 1916 rebellion in Ireland, and "The Singapore Grip," which takes place just before World War II, as the sun begins to set upon the British Empire. Together these three novels offer an unequaled picture of the follies of empire.

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Celebrating the best fiction of the past 40 years

The Best of the Booker, a one-off award, has been announced to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Booker Prize. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction recognises and is awarded for theondaatje_michael best novel of the year; and now The Best of the Booker will honour the best overall novel to have won the prize since it was first awarded on 22 April 1969.

This is only the second time that a celebratory award has been created. The first was in 1993 – the 25th anniversary - when Salman Rushdie (left)won the Booker of Bookers with Midnight’s Children. However, unlike then, this time the public will be able to cast their vote.

In all, 41 novelists have won the prize over the years because in 1974 and 1992 there were two winners. In 1974 Nadine Gordimer won with The Conservationist and Stanley Middleton with Holiday. In 1992 Michael Ondaatje’s (below right) The English Patient shared the top spot with Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger.

For The Best of the Booker, a panel of judges has been appointed to select a shortlist of six novels. They are biographer, novelist and critic Victoria Glendinning, (Chair); writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, and John Mullan, Professor of English at UCL. Their shortlist will be announced in May, and public voting will then begin via the Man Booker Prize website - www.themanbookerprize.com.

Victoria Glendinning comments: ‘The Best of the Booker is a wonderful opportunity to read, or reread, some of the best literature in English of the past four decades. We are having a very good time revisiting the now-classic novels which won the Booker long ago, as well as the celebrated ones from recent years. All readers will enjoy this, and we look forward to hearing what the voters think - and which one, from our shortlist, they will judge the Best of the Booker.’

The overall winner of The Best of the Booker will be announced at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre in July, accompanied by a series of events debating and celebrating the prize. The winner will be awarded a custom-made trophy.

Other celebrations to mark the anniversary include an exhibition at the V&A telling the visual story of the prize over its 40 years, and The Booker at the Movies, a season in June at the Institute of Contemporary Arts featuring films from Booker prize-winning books and authors. Also for the anniversary, The British Council is working towards the creation of an online collection of contemporary British literature. The Council is in negotiation with publishers to include former winners of the Booker Prize and Man Booker Prize as e-books for a pilot project.

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Plans for 2008 celebrations revealed

“No matter the slings and arrows it gets, it’s still the most respected literary prize out there.” Jon Howells, Waterstone’s.

2008 sees the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize (now the Man Booker Prize) for Fiction, the most important literary prize in the English speaking world. To mark the occasion, a range of events and initiatives are planned throughout the year including a campaign to directly involve the reading public.

Since P.H.Newby won the first prize with Something to Answer For in 1969, ‘the Booker’ has attracted consistent media attention worldwide and the 40th anniversary promises to be no exception.

‘When the Booker Prize was established forty years ago the aim was to create an English-language Prix Goncourt, an award that would encourage the wider reading of the very best in fiction across the UK and the Commonwealth’, says Ion Trewin, Administrator of the Man Booker Prizes. ‘The programme for the 40th anniversary is testimony to that aim being achieved – whether you judge the prize by numbers of books sold, the number of films it has helped generate or the way it has opened our eyes to a range and quality of writing that might otherwise have been ignored.’

Winners of the prize can look forward not only to worldwide recognition but also a place in the history of English literature. Contenders over the years have ranged from well established authors to first time novelists. In the past decade Arundhati Roy for The God of Smalls Things (1997), Yann Martel for The Life of Pi (2002) and DBC Pierre for Vernon God Little (2003) were each unknown authors until winning. As testimony to the enduring quality of the winners, all of the books which have scooped the prize are currently in print, with the exception of only one, Something to Answer For. Rights for this are currently under discussion for the anniversary.

‘Over the last four decades the prize has continued to recognise, though not without controversy, the best of contemporary fiction. It is a glittering prize based on the integrity and the independence of its processes,’ says Jonathan Taylor, Chair, The Booker Prize Foundation.


A new look for the prize

A completely new look and feel has been designed for the Man Booker Prize and the 40th anniversary year. A new suite of logos for the Man Booker Prize family, with a distinctive abstract book shape, has been developed, including the Rubine red 40 logo.
40th anniversary at the V&A

To coincide with the announcement of the 2008 Man Booker Prize shortlist in September, the V&A Museum is to host an exhibition telling the visual story of the prize over the years. From book jackets to photographs, one-off designs by artisan bookbinders to posters, letters and television footage, this is the first time that such a collection of archive material has been on public display.

Some of the content for the exhibition will come from private individuals as well as from The Booker Prize Archive which has been housed at Oxford Brookes University since 2003. The archive is in the process of cataloguing which will be completed in time for the 40th anniversary.
The Booker at the Movies

39 Booker Prize winning and shortlisted books have been made into films or are in production. This includes such box office hits as Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s List and most recently, Ian McEwan’s Atonement. In June 2008 the Institute of Contemporary Arts will present a season of films – Booker at the Movies – featuring films from Booker prize-winning books and authors. Writers, directors, screenwriters and cast will take part in panel discussions to accompany each film. The season is part of CinematICA, the ICA’s new fundraising initiative.


The British Council

The British Council is working towards the creation of an online collection of contemporary British literature and is in negotiation with publishers to include former Booker and Man Booker Prize winners as e-books, which can be purchased. This initiative would take high quality literature to parts of the world which other channels of distribution do not reach. For more information about the British Council Literature department, please visit the British Council website
Literary Festivals

Arts and literary festivals across the UK will be joining in the celebrations by hosting Booker Prize inspired anniversary events. The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, Canterbury Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival are already on board and activities will include panel discussions with critics, winners and judges past and present.

Further details will be announced in the new year for major events around the 40th anniversary, updates on all these plans and more can be found at the Man Booker website - www.themanbookerprize.com.

The site, which incorporates a new look for the 40th anniversary, is rapidly becoming a key reference for contemporary fiction. It includes Perspective, an online magazine, featuring Q&A interviews, written pieces and a Literary Calendar. It also gives up to date news on the prize as well as related literary stories.

For further information contact: Eleanor Johnsey or Jane Acton Eleanor@colmangetty.co.uk jane@colmangetty.co.uk Tel: 020 7631 2666


Notes to Editors

The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man Group plc was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002, with a five year extension agreed in 2006. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website: www.themanbookerprize.com. The site features the rules of entry, background information and breaking news and is the quickest way for the prize’s worldwide audience to access information

41 authors have won the prize since it launched in 1969 because in 1974 and 1992 there were two winners. In 1974 Nadine Gordimer won with The Conversationist and Stanley Middleton with Holiday. In 1992 Michael Ondaatje with The English Patient shared the top spot with Barry Unsworth and Sacred Hunger. From 1993 onwards the rules stipulated that there could only be one winner per year..

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