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Facts & Figures

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  • It was called The Booker Prize from 1969 to 2001. PH Newby was the first winner of the prize in 1969 with Something to Answer For
  • From 2002 the prize became The Man Booker Prize when the Man Group plc came on board as sponsor, making Yann Martel the first winner of The Man Booker Prize with Life of Pi. The Man Group ended their sponsorship in 2019.
  • From 2019, the prize went back to being known as The Booker Prize, with Crankstart becoming the new sponsor, making all winners from then on The Booker Prize winners.
  • The Man Booker International Prize, which was established in 2005, became The International Booker Prize at that stage.
  • Since 1969, 32 men and 18 women have won the prize. Four authors have won more than once: J.M. Coetzee: 1983 and 1999; Peter Carey in 1988 and 2001; Hilary Mantel 2009 and 2012; and Margaret Atwood 2000 and 2019.
  • The Booker Prize initially awarded £5,000 to its winners. The prize money doubled in 1978 to £10,000, and today the winner receives £50,000. Each of the shortlisted authors receives £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. 
  • In 1974, eyebrows were raised when Kingsley Amis’ Ending Up appeared on the shortlist chosen by a judging panel that included his wife, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard. In the end, the prize was split between Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton. 
  • In 1975, there was only a shortlist of two, out of 83 submissions, with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala winning with Heat and Dust
  • In 1977, Chair Philip Larkin threatened to jump out of the window if Paul Scott’s Staying On didn’t win. (Luckily it did.)
  • The shortest winning novel in the history of the prize was Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald, at 132 pages, in 1979. Ian McEwan's shortlisted On Chesil Beach and Julian Barnes’ winning The Sense of an Ending were just slightly longer. In terms of length of eligible books, the rules of the prize simply state that the judges must be of the opinion that a book is a unified and substantial work. 
  • The longest winning novel in the prize’s history was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, in 2013, at 832 pages.
  • The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ was introduced in 2007, limiting the number of books allowed on the longlist to 12 or 13 each year.  There were 13 books on the longlist in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Previously the numbers were much higher: 19 in 2006; 17 in 2005; 22 in 2004 and 23 in 2003.
  • Eleanor Catton became the youngest winner in 2013, aged just 28. Previously, Ben Okri held this title, winning in 1991 at the age of 32; Aravind Adiga was 33 when he won in 2008. Salman Rushdie was 34 when he won in 1981. Kiran Desai had been the youngest woman to win the prize in 2006, aged 35. Daisy Johnson, nominated in 2018, is the youngest person ever to make the shortlist, aged 27.
  • The prize has been split between joint winners on three occasions. Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton shared the prize in 1974, whilst Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth were joint winners in 1992. As a result, the Booker Prize committee changed the rules so that only one book could win in the future. Nevertheless, Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo were announced joint winners in 2019.
  • There are two instances where two members of the same family have been recognised by the prize. Anita Desai has been shortlisted twice since 1980, but has never won. However, her daughter, Kiran, won the acclaimed literary prize in 2006. Martin Amis has been both shortlisted and longlisted, in 1991 and 2003 respectively, whilst his father Kingsley Amis won the Booker in 1986.
  • Jonathan Cape is the publisher with the highest number of winning titles, with eight winners: The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes in 2011, The Gathering by Anne Enright in 2007, Amsterdam by Ian McEwan in 1998, The Famished Road by Ben Okri in 1991, Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner in 1984, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie in 1981, Saville by David Storey in 1976 and The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer in 1974. Faber & Faber follows closely with seven winning titles.
  • One of the bestselling Booker winners is Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, which was adapted into the box office smash Schindler’s List. The film by Steven Spielberg won seven Academy Awards and took $321,306,305 worldwide on original release. A number of other Booker and Man Booker winning novels have been adapted into film. Some of the best-known are Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 novel Remains of the Day, Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 novel The English Patient and Yann Martel’s 2002 novel Life of Pi. Other adaptations of winners include: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, AS Byatt’s Possession, and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending.
  • Five authors have won the prize with their first novels: Keri Hulme, with The Bone People in 1985; Arundhati Roy, with The God of Small Things in 1997; Aravind Adiga, with White Tiger in 2008; George Saunders, with Lincoln in the Bardo in 2017; and Douglas Stuart for Shuggie Bain in 2020.
  • Over the years, winners have found different ways of spending their winnings. In 1990, AS Byatt famously announced she would use her money to buy a swimming pool for her house in Provence, whilst Ian McEwan commented in 1998 that he would probably spend the money on ‘something perfectly useless’, rather than fritter it away on things like ‘bus fares and linoleum’. When Howard Jacobson won in 2010, he promised to buy his wife a new handbag. In 2015, Marlon James said: ‘I can go to Gieves & Hawkes, finally get my Ozwald Boateng suit.’ When Anna Burns won in 2018, she said she would ‘clear my debts and live on what’s left.’
  • Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice. JM Coetzee was the first person to win twice, in 1983 and again in 1999, when he described the Booker as ‘the ultimate prize to win in the English speaking world’. Peter Carey won first in 1988 and then in 2001. Margaret Atwood won first in 2000 and then in 2019. Mantel is the first person to win the prize for two novels in a trilogy.
  • Hilary Mantel was also the first Man Booker author to enter the official UK Top 50 at the number one spot, with the paperback edition of Bring Up the Bodies.
  • 2013 was the first time since the longlist started being released (in 2001) that women outnumbered men on the list. 
  • In 2013, bookies William Hill offered odds on whether the winner would be male or female for the first time ever.
  • As of 2018, a new rule was added specifying that any novel written originally in English and published in Ireland by an imprint formally established in Ireland was eligible for the prize, alongside books published in the UK.
  • 2018 also saw the first graphic novel on the longlist, and the first crime novel. Robin Robertson also made the shortlist with the first novel in verse to be nominated for the prize.
  • Three sequels have won the prize in its history: The Ghost Road by Pat Parker (1995), Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012) and The Testaments (2019).
  • Bernardine Evaristo became the first black woman, and first black British author, to win the prize in 2019.
  • The Bookseller reported that 2018 Milkman posted the highest volume for any winner in the BookScan era in the week following the 2018 winner announcement, besting even Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate), which went on to sell over a million copies across all editions – by 1,000 units.
  • In the week following the 2019 announcement, sales of The Testaments rose from 11,955 to 13,400 copies while Girl, Woman, Other sold 5,980 copies, more than double its lifetime sales up to that point and a 1,340% increase week on week. Since the win, Girl, Woman, Other has spent 25 weeks in The Sunday Times Top Ten in hardback and paperback, several at number one and its combined sales in all editions and formats are heading towards half a million. The book will be published in 32 territories internationally and TV rights have been optioned by Potboiler. Evaristo won Author of the Year at the British Book Awards, while her novel picked up Fiction book of the year, and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Gordon Burn Prize, amongst others. Girl, Woman, Other also made it onto Barack Obama’s ‘19 Favourite Books of 2019’ and was named Book of the Decade by The Guardian.