Man Booker Prize announces global expansion

18 September 2013

  • The expanded prize will recognise, celebrate and embrace authors writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai
  • ‘We are embracing the freedom of English in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be. We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries’

 

The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation today (18 September 2013) announce that the Man Booker Prize is to expand eligibility for entry for future prizes to include novels originally written in English and published in the UK, regardless of the nationality of their author. This change will come into effect for the 2014 prize.

The Man Booker Prize, which was launched in 1969, is widely regarded as the most important literary award in the English-speaking world. But, paradoxically, it has not allowed full international participation to all those writing literary fiction in English.

The trustees have made their decision to expand the prize after an extensive investigation and evaluation, with the help of specialist independent consultants. Research and consultation began in 2011 and, over the following eighteen months, the views of writers, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and others were canvassed on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Initially, the thinking was that the Booker Prize Foundation might set up a new prize specifically for US writers. But at the end of a lengthy process, the trustees were wary of jeopardising or diluting the existing Man Booker Prize. Instead, they agreed that the prize, which for over 40 years has been the touchstone for high quality literary fiction written in English, would enhance its prestige and reputation through expansion, rather than by the setting up of a separate prize.

The basic structure of the prize (the number of judges; the fact that only UK publishers can submit; the requirement that all the judges consider every book submitted; the contemporaneous nature of the submissions; the longlist and the shortlist) will be maintained. However, mindful of the increased pressure that the expansion will place on some publishers of literary fiction in deciding which books to submit, the trustees have approved a modified basis for submissions to recognise literary achievement; this will be by reference to longlisting within the previous five years (details of this process are below). At the same time, the prize will remain open to all UK publishers, existing and emerging, all of whom will be entitled to enter at least one novel as well as proposing up to five other novels for the judges to consider.

The trustees are confident that their decisions are in keeping with the increasingly international nature of publishing and reading. They believe that these changes will encourage traditional and new publishers alike, and bring yet more excellent literary fiction to the attention of readers around the world.

The changes to the annual Man Booker Prize will in no way affect the structure and objectives of the Man Booker International Prize, which recognises a writer for his or her achievement in fiction. It is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the trustees, comments,
‘By including writers from around the world to compete alongside Commonwealth and Irish writers, the Man Booker Prize is reinforcing its standing as the most important literary award in the English-speaking world.

‘We are excited by the opportunities that extending the Man Booker Prize will bring for readers and writers worldwide. The expanded prize will recognise, celebrate and embrace authors writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai. The wide geographic spread of the year's shows that this is a process already underway. We are embracing the freedom of English in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be. We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries.

‘The number of books publishers are allowed to submit has also long been a concern. Our new model, in recognising literary achievement, should encourage the traditional literary publishing houses while ensuring novels from new green-shoot publishers continue to be included.’

Manny Roman, CEO of the Man Group comments,
‘Man is delighted to be the long term sponsor of the pre-eminent prize for literary fiction and we welcome its extension to include works in English from all round the world. This promises to enrich the debate around quality fiction.’

 

For more information please contact Four Colman Getty on 020 3697 4200

Dotti Irving dotti.irving@fourcolmangetty.com or 07850 122 428
Amy Barder amy.barder@fourcolmangetty.com or 07956 337 231

 

Notes to Editors

  • Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the trustees, and Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, are available for comment through Four Colman Getty
  • Submissions Guidelines for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction

    As from 2014, the system by which publishers submit books for the Man Booker Prize is going to change. From 2014 on, the number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:

    1 submission - publishers with no listing
    2 submissions - publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s)
    3 submissions - publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings
    4 submissions - publishers with 5 or more longlistings

    This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change year on year.

    The system whereby publishers may also submit a list of up to five further titles for consideration is unaffected and the judges will continue to be required to call in no fewer than eight and no more than twelve of these titles. The judges may also call in any book which has not been submitted but which they believe worthy of consideration.

    The rule which allows submission of any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre 2002) or Man Booker Prize remains.

  • The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by the Man Group since 2002. The long-term future of the prize was secured in 2011 with the announcement of a renewed 10 year sponsorship from the Man Group. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group plc’s sponsorship began. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website: www.themanbookerprize.com
  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Ion Trewin, Chair (Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive, Man; 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, Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones; 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; writer, critic and broadcaster, Bidisha; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, Baroness Kennedy QC; Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning CBE 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 and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents.
  • Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. It has expertise in a wide range of liquid investment styles including managed futures, equity, credit and convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager, combined with powerful product structuring, distribution and client service capabilities. As at 30 June 2013, Man managed $52.0 billion. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £1.5 billion. Man is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsoring the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at www.man.com.
  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses

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