Published on Submitted by Natalie on Wed, 2010-05-19 11:36
Forty years after it was first published, Troubles, by J G Farrell, is today (Wednesday 19 May), announced as the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize - a one-off prize to honour the books published in 1970, but not considered for the prize when its rules were changed.
It won by a clear majority, winning 38% of the votes by the international reading public, more than double the votes cast for any other book on the shortlist.
Troubles is the first in Farrell's Empire Trilogy, which was followed by The Siege of Krishnapur (1973) and The Singapore Grip (1978). The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize in 1973 and was shortlisted for the Best of the Booker, a special award created to mark the 40th anniversary of the prize in 2008.
J G Farrell died in 1979.
Set in Ireland in 1919, just after the First World War, Troubles tells the tragic-comic story of Major Brendan Archer who has gone to visit Angela, a woman he believes may be his fiancée. Her home, from which he is unable to detach himself, is the dilapidated Majestic, a once grand Irish hotel, and all around is the gathering storm of the Irish War of Independence.
The Guardian wrote, "The evidence of change and decay at the Majestic is no parochial phenomenon and it is this feeling of the particular reflecting the universal, a feeling so successfully pervading page after page of this clever book that makes it a tour de force."
The winning book was voted for via the Man Booker Prize website, chosen from a shortlist of six selected by a panel of three judges, all of whom were born in or around 1970. They are journalist and critic, Rachel Cooke, ITN newsreader, Katie Derham and poet and novelist, Tobias Hill. The shortlist included The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden (Virago); The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard (Virago); Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Arrow); The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark (Penguin); The Vivisector by Patrick White (Vintage).
Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Man Booker Prizes comments, ‘Troubles is a novel of such lasting quality that it has never been out of print in the 40 years since it was first published. Had this been the winning novel in 1970, JG Farrell would have gone on to become the first author to win the Booker Prize twice."
The Lost Man Booker Prize was the brainchild of Peter Straus, honorary archivist to the Booker Prize Foundation. It was created to honour the books of 1970 which missed out on the chance to win the prize when it ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became - as it is today - a prize for the best novel of the year of publication.
The winner was announced by Lady Antonia Fraser, who was a judge for the Booker Prize in both 1970 and 1971, at a celebratory party at 33 Fitzroy Square, in London. The prize, a designer-bound first edition copy of the book, was accepted by J G Farrell's brother, Richard Farrell, on the author's behalf.
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Troubles by J.G. Farrell
Published by Phoenix
Major Brendan Archer travels to Ireland - to the Majestic Hotel and to the fiancée he acquired on a rash afternoon's leave three years ago. Despite her many letters, the lady herself proves elusive, and the Major's engagement is short-lived. But he is unable to detach himself from the alluring discomforts of the crumbling hotel. Ensconced in the dim and shabby splendour of the Palm Court, surrounded by gently decaying old ladies and proliferating cats, the Major passes the summer. So hypnotic are the faded charms of the Majestic, the Major is almost unaware of the gathering storm. But this is Ireland in 1919 - and the struggle for independence is about to explode with brutal force.
J G Farrell was born in Liverpool in January 1935. In 1956 he went to study at Brasenose College, Oxford; while there he contracted polio. He drew heavily on his experience for his second novel, The Lung (1965). He spent a good deal of his life abroad, including periods in France, America and the Far East. His novel, Troubles (1970), the first in the Empire Trilogy, won the Faber Memorial Prize in 1971 and was made in to a film for television in 1988. The second in the trilogy, The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize in 1973. In April 1979, he went to live in County Cork, where, only four months later, he was drowned in a fishing accident.
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Notes to Editors:
• The shortlist for the Lost Man Booker Prize was announced on 25 March at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival
• The judges, Ion Trewin and Peter Straus are available for interview via Colman Getty
• P.H. Newby was awarded the first Booker Prize in 1969, for his novel Something to Answer For. Bernice Rubens was awarded the second prize, in 1970, for The Elected Member at a ceremony that April. In 1971 the ceremony moved to November when VS Naipaul won the prize for In a Free State. For that year, novels published between January 1 and November 15, 1971, were eligible
• Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate) won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, becoming the fastest-selling winner, with over 270,000 copies sold in hardback in the UK. In 2010, it topped the mass market fiction bestseller lists within a week of publication - a first for a Man Booker winner
• The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man Group plc was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002, with a five year extension agreed in 2006. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website: www.themanbookerprize.com. It is a major media and information tool which is accessed worldwide with up to the minute information about both the annual Man Booker Prize and the biennial Man Booker International Prize. Featuring news, interviews and written pieces as well as a lively forum and full history archive of the prize, the site is used by journalists, bloggers and general members of the public on a daily basis
• The Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all sides of the book world. Its members are: Ion Trewin, Chair (Literary Director, Man Booker Prizes); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary, Booker Ltd; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man Group plc; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Peter Kemp, fiction editor, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers
• The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning; writer, Baroness Neuberger DBE and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is a Vice President
• The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc. Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. With a broad range of funds for institutional and private investors globally, it is known for its performance, innovative product design and investor service. Man manages around $40 billion. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index with a market capitalisation of around £4 billion. Man Group is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index
Man Group supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. In the year to March 2010 the Man Group plc Charitable Trust continued to fund innovate projects for children and adults that improve literacy. Donations were made to support the "Every Child a Reader" reading recovery programme, Dyslexia Action, The Mayor's Fund for London, National Literacy Trust and St Petrock's (Exeter). The Trust also supports the RNIB Talking Books Service, enabling the production and distribution of Talking Book formats of the shortlisted titles of the Man Booker Prize
Further information can be found at www.mangroupplc.com
• Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses
• The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides.