The judges of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction are announced today.
The panel of five is chaired by Amanda Foreman, biographer, historian and presenter of the highly acclaimed recent BBC series, The Ascent of Woman. Foreman judged the prize in 2012, under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Stothard. Her four fellow judges are a critic, a novelist, a poet and an actor.
The 2016 panel is: Amanda Foreman (Chair)
, award-winning historian and internationally bestselling author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
; Jon Day
, Critic and Lecturer in English at King's College London, specialising in modernist fiction; Abdulrazak Gurnah
, Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist and Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent; David Harsent
, poet and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton, winner of 2014 T.S. Eliot prize; Olivia Williams
, actor, currently starring in a National Theatre’s production of Harley Granville-Barker's Waste.
Amanda Foreman comments on behalf of the panel: ‘I am honoured to be chairing such a distinguished panel of Man Booker judges. We have an incredibly intense and stimulating time ahead of us. For nearly fifty years the Prize has played a special role in its contribution to modern culture. It is also unique in the demands it places on the judges. But rising to the challenge is part of what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If anybody needs to speak to me, I'll be in my study, reading.’
2016 is the 48th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969. The 2016 judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
The 2015 prize was won by Marlon James
, the first Jamaican winner. On winning, James commented: ‘I just met Ben Okri and it just reminded me of how much my literary sensibilities were shaped by the Man Booker Prize.’
A Brief History of Seven Killings
went straight to number one on iTunes and number three in the Amazon charts, selling 12,466 physical books in the week following the announcement, a 933% increase on the previous week. Independent publisher Oneworld issued an immediate reprint of 182,500 copies and last month released a 25,000 print run of a special hardback edition of the book. To date, over 260,000 print copies of the book have been sold internationally, and foreign language rights have been sold to 16 markets.
The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced on 27 July 2016 and the shortlist of six books on 13 September 2016. The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 25 October 2016 at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.
The judges will read submissions both in hard copy and using e-readers.
The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers.