I am delighted to introduce the Man Booker Prize’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. This marks half a century in the celebration of literary excellence, honouring some of the world’s finest authors for their contributions to fiction. At Man Group, we take our responsibility extremely seriously when it comes to supporting initiatives which further education, literacy and creative enterprise.
So, why is the Man Booker Prize so important to us? Undoubtedly, at a time when markets are uncertain, investment complexity is pronounced and the pressure to generate strong risk-adjusted performance continues to challenge asset managers, some may question our ongoing commitment to recognising artistic talent. But while our chief responsibility will always be the effective management of clients’ financial capital, we understand the importance of intellectual capital too. Fiction has a unique power to open windows into other worlds, giving insight into the lives, beliefs and struggles of an infinite cast of characters, challenging and re-shaping our view of the world as we read. Indeed, in this sense we see an intrinsic link between the worlds of literature and investment, where both are predicated on continuous questioning, intelligent articulation and sensitivity to the subtleties of competing narratives. It is no coincidence that so many of our investment colleagues are also veracious readers of novels.
We believe that businesses like ours have an essential duty to support progress in education at every level: from prizes like this which recognise global talent, to local initiatives in schools and universities. First, and most importantly, it is the right thing to do. Charitable responsibility must sit firmly within companies’ priorities if we are to address the many challenges and injustices facing our world today. And second, we believe it makes good business sense. By supporting causes across educational fields, we are investing in the thinkers, leaders and innovators of tomorrow – sustaining the talent and ingenuity of industries for decades to come. These two perspectives both point to the necessity of continued corporate involvement in charitable and academic initiatives, whether in arts, sciences or humanities. This is too important for companies to ignore.
At Man Group, we are immensely proud to be a part of one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards. Over the years, we have been thrilled to acknowledge the achievements of a wide range of authors: some well-known, and some entering the global literary stage for the first time. In 2005, the creation of the Man Booker International Prize allowed us to extend this recognition to authors from every country around the world, where the craft of translation takes its rightful focus.
A celebration of diversity in itself, Man Booker has welcomed winners from many different countries including Korea, Israel, Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand, the US and India, and the list will only get longer. In this sense, the prizes have evolved with the globalising world, bringing together literary minds from multiple cultures in a cross-border celebration of artistic talent. It is a powerful testimony to the Booker Prize Foundation that here, on the 50th anniversary of the first award, the Man Booker Prizes have become more relevant and far-reaching than ever before. We are delighted to have played a meaningful role in this process and to have supported this important and progressive literature prize, which changes the lives of many.
Luke Ellis, CEO, Man Group (sponsor of the Man Booker Prize)