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The Booker Prizes Backlist

The Booker Prize 1983

The Winner

Life & Times of Michael K

By J.M. Coetzee

Published by Secker & Warburg 

In a South Africa torn by civil war, Michael K sets out to take his ailing mother back to her rural home. On the way there she dies, leaving him alone in an anarchic world of brutal roving armies. Imprisoned, Michael is unable to bear confinement and escapes, determined to live with dignity. This life-affirming novel illuminates the human experience: the need for an interior, spiritual life; for meaningful connections to the world in which we live; and for purity of vision.


The Shortlist

The 1983 Judges

Fay Weldon (Chair)

Angela Carter

Terence Kilmartin

Peter Porter

Libby Purves