Readers are invited to enter to be part of the prize’s history and for the chance to win prizes from The Folio Society and Montegrappa worth more than £700
Thursday January 19 2023: The Booker Prize Foundation (BPF) today launches a new competition to give the golden Booker Prize trophy a name.
Originally designed by Jan Pieńkowski in 1969, the distinctive statuette had been out of use for decades. Pieńkowski, best known as the author of such much-loved children’s books as Haunted House and as the illustrator of the Meg and Mog series, died in February 2022. The statuette was reinstated in his honour and awarded to the winner of the Booker Prize 2022, Shehan Karunatilaka.
However, it has never had a name – and now it is up to the public to choose one.
Entrants are invited to draw inspiration from the history of the Booker Prize and to put forward ideas for the coveted trophy’s official title. From these suggestions, a judging panel will select a shortlist of six names, then ask the public to pick the final name via the Booker Prizes website. The winner of the prizes will be the person who nominated the chosen name. In the event that more than one person suggests the final name, the winner will be selected at random from those entrants.
Inspired by an art deco lamp Pieńkowski found in a junk shop in Portobello Market, the first statuette was pewter-coloured and stood two feet tall. It was awarded to P.H. Newby, whose wife disliked the colour and spray painted it gold, unwittingly altering the future of its design.
In 2022 P.H. Newby’s original trophy was tracked down, scanned and 3D-printed by Adam Lowe’s Madrid-based Factum Foundation, a not-for-profit that used cutting edge photogrammetry technology to reinstate the female figure for the 2022 awards. She now stands 38cm high and is cast in brass, adopting Mrs. Newby’s legacy. This will be the trophy that Booker Prize winners receive for the foreseeable future.
The competition entries will be whittled down by a group of acclaimed literary judges with personal connections to the prize or the trophy. The panel will consist of: Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the Booker Prize 2022 for his novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida; Margaret Busby, Britain’s first black female publisher and Chair of the Booker Prize 2022 judges; Gabriel Schenk, P.H. Newby’s grandson; David Walser, partner and frequent collaborator of the late Jan Pieńkowski; and Gaby Wood, Director of the Booker Prize Foundation. The winner of the competition will receive The Folio Society collector’s edition of Wolf Hall, the Booker Prize-winning novel by the late the Hilary Mantel, illustrated by Igor & Marina, and a Montegrappa Zero Fountain Pen with a 14k solid gold, gold-plated nib. Entries should be submitted via the Booker Prizes website and explain why the suggested name is appropriate.
A shortlist of six names will be announced on the Booker Prizes website on Wednesday February 8. The public will then vote for their favourite name, with the competition winner announced on Thursday February 23, 2023.
‘We’re incredibly grateful to our partners, The Folio Society and Montegrappa, for donating such elegant and luxurious prizes – and grateful in advance to members of the public for joining us in this venture to give the Booker Prize trophy a name.
She will, we hope, come to stand not only for the triumph of a single winner but for the aims of the Booker Prize Foundation as a whole: to change lives and expand minds through the pleasures of reading.
Once she has a name she can be a beacon, lighting the way to the world’s best literature. We’d like readers everywhere to be part of that.’
A compact, ten-inch version of Pieńkowski’s trophy was created in 1973 by artist Patricia Turner. This was handed out for several years, until it was replaced by leather-bound copies of an author’s winning book, followed by a perspex panel which has been awarded to winners up until last year. The newly named trophy will be awarded at the Booker Prize 2023, and, with any luck, for many years to come.
Once she has a name she can be a beacon, lighting the way to the world’s best literature. We’d like readers everywhere to be part of that.
To enter the competition, readers should fill in the form and submit via the Booker Prizes website: www.thebookerprizes.com. Entries close on Friday January 27, 2023.
The shortlist of names will be shared via the Booker Prizes website on Wednesday February 8, and public voting will close on Friday February 17. The winning name and competition winner will be announced on Thursday February 23, 2023