Fiction at its finest

The 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction: full judging panel announced

01 December 2011

The full judging panel for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is announced today, Monday 12 December 2011. The judges are Dinah Birch, academic and literary critic; Amanda Foreman, historian, writer and broadcaster; Dan Stevens, actor and Bharat Tandon, academic, writer and reviewer. The judges will be chaired by Sir Peter Stothard, Editor of the Times Literary Supplement.

The 2012 judges will be the forty-fourth panel to choose the ‘best book of the year' since the prize's inception in 1969. Peter Stothard comments: ‘This year's Man Booker judges begin work this week in enthusiasm and expectation. We have two of Britain's finest professional critics, with expertise in novels from the eighteenth to the twenty first century, a distinguished actor who is also an accomplished literary critic and an historian who is one of the most successful biographers of our time. We are all looking forward to a feisty Man Booker year - with a background of Jane Austen, John Ruskin, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, the Times Literary Supplement and even a hint of the library at Downton Abbey.'

The judges will announce ‘The Booker Dozen', their longlist of 12 or 13 titles, in July 2012, followed by a shortlist of six titles in September. The winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize will be announced at London's Guildhall at an awards ceremony on 16 October 2012.

The winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape, Random House), was announced in October. To date, ebook and hardback sales of the book in the UK are over 100,000, making it the fastest selling winner in the history of the prize.

Sir Peter Stothard (Chair) is Editor of the Times Literary Supplement. From 1992 to 2002 he was Editor of The Times. He is the author of two books of diaries, On the Spartacus Road, A Spectacular Journey Through Ancient Italy (2010), and Thirty Days, A Month at the Heart of Blair's War (2003). He was chairman of the judges for The Forward Poetry Prize (2003) and a judge of the Whitbread Book of the Year (1997). He is an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Oxford and President of the Classical Association. He is currently completing a book set in Alexandria in the first century BC and in the final days before the Arab Spring.

Dinah Birch is an academic and literary critic. She is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, and currently serves as the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange; she previously taught English at Trinity College, Oxford. She specialises in Victorian literature, and has published extensively on writers including Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Alfred Tennyson. An enthusiast for the work of the artist and critic John Ruskin, she has written two books on Ruskin - Ruskin's Myths, and Ruskin on Turner. Her study of the legacies of nineteenth-century educational ideals, Our Victorian Education, came out in 2008. She reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books and is the General Editor of the most recent edition of the Oxford Companion to English Literature (2009), a concise edition of which will be published in 2012.

Amanda Foreman is an award-winning historian and international bestselling author. Her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was an international bestseller, winning the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Biography. It has been developed into a television documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench and the Oscar-winning film, The Duchess. Her second book, A World on Fire, was published in the UK by Penguin Press (November 2010) and in the US by Random House (June 2011) to critical acclaim in both countries, and was listed among the Ten Best Books of 2011 by The New York Times. In addition to her writing and public speaking, she has also served on a number of juries in the UK and the US including The Orange Prize, the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Book Award, and the Pen History Prize. A World on Fire has been optioned by BBC Worldwide.

Dan Stevens is one of Britain's leading young actors. Perhaps best known as Matthew Crawley in the hit ITV drama Downton Abbey, his other television work includes lead roles in Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty and Andrew Davies's adaptation of Sense & Sensibility. Dan has had leading film roles in American independent, Vamps, and German-speaking feature, Hilde, and he is an Executive Producer on Summer in February, a feature adaptation of the Jonathan Smith novel. Whilst studying English Literature at Cambridge University, Dan became a member of the prestigious Footlights club, and has subsequently gone onto work extensively in theatre. His stage credits to date include Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (Duke of York's), as well as productions for the Peter Hall Company and the National Theatre. He is also a prolific narrator of audiobooks: his reading of Louisa Young's My Dear I Wanted to Tell You won ‘Audiobook of the Year 2011' at the Galaxy National Book Awards, and his recordings of Wolf Hall and War Horse were shortlisted for ‘Audiobook of the Year 2010'. Dan is Editor-at-Large for the online quarterly The Junket and is a regular guest on the BBC's Review Show. He has also hosted Have I Got News For You and has a column in The Sunday Telegraph.

Bharat Tandon is an academic, writer, and reviewer. He has lectured at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford on topics as diverse as Jane Austen and David Mamet, Charles Dickens and Don DeLillo, specializing in teaching British literature after 1700, and American literature after 1900. His first book, Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation, was published in 2003, and his annotated edition of Austen's Emma will be published next year. In addition to his research and teaching, he has been active as a commentator on contemporary British and American fiction since 1994, reviewing novels for papers such as The Times Literary Supplement and The Daily Telegraph.

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