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Crankstart is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize

Crankstart is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize

The Booker Prize announces new financial backing

Future secured with philanthropic support from Crankstart


The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are delighted to announce that Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Sir Michael Moritz KBE and his wife, Harriet Heyman, is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize.

Crankstart has committed to an initial five-year exclusive funding term with an option to renew for a further five years. The new arrangement will begin on 1 June 2019 after the 2019 Man Booker International Prize winner announcement, which marks the conclusion of 18 years of successful and generous sponsorship by Man Group. Thereafter the original prize will once again be known as The Booker Prize, while the prize for literature in translation will become The International Booker Prize.

Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Trustees, says, ‘We are thrilled that The Booker Prizes have found such marvellous philanthropic supporters in Crankstart, whose founders share our vision and values. With its support, we look forward to developing initiatives for The Booker to reach new audiences of every generation and background around the world.  

‘Thanks to Crankstart, we will be able to continue the charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, working with (among others) the National Literacy Trust in prisons, with RNIB to make the shortlist accessible to blind and partially sighted readers, and in universities around the UK.’

Crankstart was established by Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman in 2000 to support ‘the forgotten, the dispossessed, the unfortunate, the oppressed and causes where some help makes all the difference’. It has organised or supported scholarship funds for students from low-income households at the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and many California Community Colleges and schools. Recipients of some of Crankstart’s more significant recent gifts include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and initiatives for the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area. Crankstart’s activities also include a wide range of grants for arts and journalistic organisations which depend on philanthropic support.

Moritz is a British venture capitalist and author, born in Wales. He studied at the University of Oxford and was a journalist before moving into the world of technology investment. He has been a partner at Sequoia Capital since 1986. He was appointed KBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to promoting British economic interests and philanthropy.

Heyman is a former journalist with The New York Times, and a novelist.

Of their support for the Booker Prize Foundation and the prizes, Moritz comments, ‘Neither of us can imagine a day where we don’t spend time reading a book. The Booker Prizes are ways of spreading the word about the insights, discoveries, pleasures and joy that spring from great fiction.

‘These days I’m a global traveller but, just like The Booker, I was born in Britain and before coming to America was reared on English literature. Harriet and I feel fortunate to be able to support prizes that together celebrate the best fiction in the world.’

For further information or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson from the Booker Prize Foundation, please contact:

Dotti Irving, chief executive, Four Culture 

[email protected] | 020 3697 4240

Hannah Davies, account director, Four Culture 

[email protected] | 020 3697 4251

Read more FAQs


About the founders of Crankstart

Sir Michael Moritz KBE is a British investor and author born in Cardiff, Wales in 1954. He studied History at Christ Church, Oxford, before emigrating to the US in 1976 where he worked as a journalist for TIME Magazine. He left to set up Technologic Partners, a technology newsletter and conference company and then joined Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in 1986 where he has helped build and develop its global business. He is the author of several books including The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of the Apple Computer, its follow-up Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the creation of Apple and How it Changed the World, and Going for Broke: Lee Lacocca's Battle to Save Chrysler. More recently, he co-authored Leading with former Manchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Harriet Heyman is an American writer who was formerly on the staff of Life and The New York Times. She has written a novel, Between Two Rains (Atheneum, 1989), and a photographic book, Private Acts: The Acrobat Sublime (Rizzoli International 2011), based on her experiences as an acrobat and aerialist.

Harriet and Michael live in San Francisco where Michael has just finished reading W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz and Harriet is reading Almost Nothing, a biography of the Polish artist Josef Czapski by Eric Karpeles.

The above photograph of Sir Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman is available to download here. They are not available for interview.



Four Culture

February 2019

Crankstart is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize
Crankstart is the new supporter of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize