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The Best of Booker Prize 2008

The Best of Booker Prize 2008

To mark the 4Oth Anniversary of the prize, a panel of judges was asked to select a shortlist of the best books to have won the prize in the previous four decades. For the first time in the prize’s history, the overall winner was selected by an online public vote.

Salman Rushdie was named winner of the ‘Best of the Booker’ award for Midnight’s Children with 36 per cent of the votes. Rushdie commented: ‘Marvellous news! I’m absolutely delighted and would like to thank all those readers around the world who voted for Midnight’s Children.

The Winner

Midnight’s Children

Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, at the precise moment of India’s independence, the infant Saleem Sinai is celebrated in the press and welcomed by Prime Minister Nehru himself. But this coincidence of birth has consequences Saleem is not prepared for: telepathic powers that connect him with 1,000 other “midnight’s children” – all born in the initial hour of India’s independence – and an uncanny sense of smell that allows him to sniff out dangers others can’t perceive. Inextricably linked to his nations, Saleem’s biography is a whirlwind of disasters and triumphs that mirror the course of modern India at its most impossible and glorious.


Winning Author

Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in June 1947.

His second novel, the acclaimed Midnight’s Children, was published in 1981. It won the Booker Prize for Fiction, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, an Arts Council Writers’ Award and the English-Speaking Union Award. In 1993 it was judged to be the ‘Booker of Bookers’, the best novel to have won the Booker Prize for Fiction in the award’s 25-year history.

His novel Shame was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1983.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), lead to the Iranian leadership issuing a fatwa against him. Despite the fatwa the novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1988 and won the Whitbread Novel Award.

The Moor’s Last Sigh was Booker Prize shortlisted in 1995, and Shalimar The Clown was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005. The Enchantress of Florence was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and Rushdie was also nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. 

Rushdie became a KBE in 2007, and in 2010 his novel, Luka and the Fire of Life, was published.

Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in New York City, and in 2007 he began a five-year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has also deposited his archives. In May 2008 he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


The Shortlist

The Judges