Amongst many literary prizes, Man Booker Prize has established its own distinct identity and importance. Ever since its inception in 1969, this prize is awarded each year for the best original, full-length novel in English. This award was set with the sole intention of enhancing quality readership and thereby attracting intelligent general audience. In this way, this literary award aims to promote the finest works in English fiction by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. The winner of this award gets renowned internationally, and also contributes to the world book trade significantly.
Man Booker Prize was originally popular as the Booker-McConnell Prize, after the company Booker-McConnell began sponsoring the event in 1968. Thereafter, it gained prominence as the “Booker Prize”. After the transfer of the administration of the prize to the Booker Prize Foundation in 2002, the title sponsor became the investment company Man Group, which opted to retain “Booker” as part of the official title of the prize.
Booker advisory committee follows a very transparent process of selection. The ‘common man’ approach for the selection of juries is one of the major reasons why ‘the intelligent general audience’ has immense trust in this prize. The judges share a passion for quality fiction and are selected from a diverse range of disciplines like writers, critics, poets, actors, journalists and politicians. The membership of this jury-panel changes every year, and helps in keeping Booker quality intact. Every year, generally in early October, the winner is announced in a ceremony at London’s Guildhall.
The first Man Booker prize was awarded to P. H. Newby for his novel ‘Something to Answer For’ in 1969. In 2012, Man Booker celebrated its 44th anniversary. Hilary Mantel won the award this year for her historical novel ‘Bring Up The Bodies’. In 1993, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children was awarded the Booker of Bookers Prize to mark the 25th anniversary of Booker prize. His book was shortlisted as the best novel out of all previous Booker winners.
The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all other shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book. Besides, the winner and all the shortlisted authors enjoy a dramatic rise in their book sales worldwide for encouraging massive readership in literary fiction.