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Statement from the Booker Prize Foundation on the death of Martyn Goff CBE, 1923 - 2015

Statement from the Booker Prize Foundation on the death of Martyn Goff CBE, 1923 - 2015

Martyn Goff CBE
1923 – 2015

The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are very sad to hear the news of Martyn Goff’s death on Wednesday 25th March after a long period of ill health.
Martyn was the Administrator of the prize from 1970 to 2006 and, over more than three decades, he helped shape the prize into the literary force it is today.

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, says,

'Martyn was a wonderful advocate and administrator of the prize for so many years. His contribution was invaluable and under Martyn the prize grew in stature and reputation, not least because of his tireless championing of contemporary fiction of the highest quality. Although the eminence grise of the prize, he lacked neither colour (particularly with regard to his ties) nor a beguiling sense of mischief. He will be sadly missed by us all.’


Martyn Goff CBE was born on 7 June 1923. He was educated at Clifton College and served in the Royal Air Force from 1941 – 1946. Martyn Goff’s name was synonymous with the book trade. A bookseller from 1948 – 1970, he then became Director of the National Book League from 1970 – 1988. From 1970 - 2006, he was an administrator for the then Booker Prize for Fiction, hence his nickname, ‘Mr. Booker’. He presided over the Wingate scholarships, was the author of 18 books, nine of which were fiction, and was a literary critic for the Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard. Throughout his career, Martyn was also involved in numerous Arts, Literature and Theatre Councils, and had a programme on LBC for five years. He was awarded the OBE in 1977 and CBE in 2005. In 2003 Martyn Goff received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University. He was Chairman of antiquarian booksellers Henry Sotherans. He lived in London.


The funeral will take place on Tuesday 7 April at Golders Green Crematorium, exact time to be confirmed.