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The Booker Prizes Backlist

The Booker Prize 1980

The Winner

Rites of Passage

By William Golding

Published by Faber & Faber 

In the early 1800s, Edmund Talbot, a young and rather priggish Englishman, takes passage on a boat heading for Australia where he is to be an official in the colonial government. In addition to Talbot, many of the eccentric passengers—a sexually predatory sailor, the aging coquette Miss Zenobia Brocklebank, the ship’s tyrannical captain—undergo profound changes in the course of the voyage, during which a naive clergyman is victimised and, finally, pushed to suicide.


The Shortlist

The 1980 Judges

Professor David Daiches (Chair)

Ronald Blythe

Margaret Forster

Claire Tomalin

Brian Wenham