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Oxford Brookes University opens doors to Man Booker Prize Archive

Oxford Brookes University opens doors to Man Booker Prize Archive

The Man Booker Prize is one of the world’s leading literary awards and as hosts of its archive, Oxford Brookes is currently holding a special exhibition.

Focusing on the first 40 years of the prize, the exhibition is an introduction to the archive which showcases the fascinating breadth of material accumulated over this period.

The exhibition also serves as a celebration of Oxford Brookes being the archive’s custodian for ten years. 

Running until Sunday 14 July, the free exhibition displays selected pieces from the archive including correspondence, minutes, publicity materials and photographs relating to the award ceremony and judging process. 

These materials are being displayed for the first time in the University’s new Glass Tank exhibition space. The exhibition has been curated by Gallery Manager and Exhibitions Curator Dr Joanna Walker with assistance from Archivist Eleanor Possart and a small team of undergraduate students. 

Dr Joanna Walker, Gallery Manager and Exhibitions Curator, commented: “The Man Booker Prize is arguably the UK’s best known literary award and Oxford Brookes is proud to be the home of its archive.

“This exhibition displays a range of materials relating to the award ceremony and winning books, as well as films on the prize and a reading area.

“This is the first in a series of Man Booker Prize displays that will be hosted in the Glass Tank as part of our exciting on-going exhibition programme.”

The Booker, and now Man Booker, Prize has the power to create literary superstars and bring the best in literary fiction to a worldwide audience. In 2000 the decision was taken to donate any papers in existence relating to the prize to Oxford Brookes. 

As an academic institution located in Oxford and with its own well-established publishing degree programme, the University was seen as a suitably eminent location for the archive. The archive was officially opened in September 2003 and has since been used by students and researchers worldwide.

The exhibition’s four displays each represent a specific decade chronicling the award ceremony, judging process and other key events and controversies from the prize’s history. 

A display of book cover designs and posters further expand on the material in the exhibition displays. The exhibition also includes an audio-visual element with the screening of 2008 film produced to mark the prize’s 40th anniversary. 

More information on the Glass Tank is available on the Brookes website

This article has been reproduced with the permission of Oxford Brookes University.

Man Booker Prize Archive. Credit: Oxford Brookes University