Submitted by Man Booker Prize on Fri, 2017-12-15 10:53
In 2018, the Man Booker Prize celebrates 50 years of the finest fiction with year-long anniversary celebrations and a campaign to introduce new audiences to its winning, shortlisted and longlisted authors. The Booker Prize Foundation, with sponsorship from Man Group, is running a range of global activities to engage the public in the rich heritage of the leading literary award in the English-speaking world, and inspire readers and writers for the next 50 years.
Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, commented:
‘The Man Booker Prize is a banner for the power of books. It is a barometer of our creative vitality. In this landmark 50th year, we will be celebrating great writers and brilliant books so that we can draw more and more readers into the wonder of literature and the joys of readership. The right book can be a liberator, a healing potion or a stimulant better than any drug.’
Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, said:
‘The anniversary of the Man Booker Prize marks half a century in celebration of literary excellence. We are delighted to have played a meaningful role in supporting this important and progressive literature prize, which enhances the lives of many. At Man Group, we take our responsibility extremely seriously when it comes to supporting initiatives which further education, literacy and creative enterprise. It is a powerful testimony to the Booker Prize Foundation that the Man Booker Prizes have become more relevant and far-reaching than ever before and, on this anniversary, that they continue to inspire the readers and writers of the future.’
The flagship event, run in partnership with Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts centre, is the unmissable Fiction at its Finest Festival. The festival will run from 6 to 8 July 2018 across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site in London. Events will be held in a variety of spaces, including Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Rooms. They will range from interviews and conversations between Man Booker winning and shortlisted authors, to debates and masterclasses. The full programme will be available from February 2018 when tickets go on sale.
Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer, Literature and Spoken Word, Southbank Centre, said:
‘At the height of this milestone year, we’re thrilled to present this culminating moment at Southbank Centre, building on many years of close collaboration and drawing on decades of unforgettable fiction. It has been a privilege pairing past winners and luminaries with recently honoured authors and innovators to shape a festival that reflects both the prodigious depth of the prize and its continuing relevance. This packed programme of events, talks and performances offers a rare chance to hear from leading authors of the last half century who have, with each passing year of the prize, expanded the possibilities of the novel itself, and through distinctive and irresistible prose, imagined the world anew.’
The Man Booker Prize has also teamed up with literary festivals across the world for 2018 to bring the celebrations to a global audience. In January, Michael Ondaatje, joint winner of the 1992 prize for The English Patient, will appear at Jaipur Literary Festival, while Fiona Mozley, shortlisted earlier this year for Elmet, is confirmed to speak at the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias. In April, 2013 winner Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, will appear at the Trinidad and Tobago BOCAS Literary Festival and over the summer Margaret Atwood, who won in 2000 for The Blind Assassin will be at Hay-on-Wye. Further appearances will be announced in the new year.
To commemorate five decades of the prize, a 50th anniversary diary has been created for 2018 in association with Third Millennium Publishing. Described by The Bookseller as ‘the perfect gift for any book lover,’ and highlighted in the Guardian’s Most Wanted selection, it is an illustrated week-to-view diary featuring all the jackets of the winners, details of the shortlists, as well as a look behind the scenes at the world's leading literary prize, with all its debate, comment and controversy. It is available to buy now from all good retailers.
The BBC is the prize’s broadcast partner and will air a range of programmes around the anniversary and the Fiction at its Finest Festival in 2018. Additional partnerships and initiatives will be announced in the new year.
The Booker Prize was born in 1968. Publishers Tom Maschler and Graham C. Greene approached the predecessor of what is now the food wholesaler Booker PLC for sponsorship of an English-language equivalent of the French Prix Goncourt, which had done so much to stimulate public interest in fiction in France. Booker was already involved in the world of books through the ownership of literary copyright of authors including Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie and was happy to support the launch of the prize. The first winner was Something to Answer For by P.H. Newby in 1969. The book immediately appeared on the Evening Standard bestseller list – the first time that a British novel had done so solely as the result of winning a prize.
In 2002, Booker transferred the Booker Prize to a new, independent charity, the Booker Prize Foundation, which assumed responsibility for the prize. Man Group’s sponsorship of the prize began in the same year, and it became the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.