About the Booker Prize Foundation
The Booker Prize Foundation, a registered charity, is best known for its annual awards, but also works with prisons, universities and other organisations
The Booker Prize – awarded annually in the autumn – is the leading literary award in the English-speaking world. It was first awarded in 1969 and has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over five decades
Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best work of long-form fiction written in English and published in the UK and Ireland, irrespective of the nationality or citizenship of the author. The winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the six shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a global readership and can expect a dramatic increase in book sales.
The prize was called the Man Booker Prize for Fiction when sponsored by Man Group from 2002-2018.
The influence of the prize extends far beyond the initial months after a win. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, was the seventh most popular title borrowed from UK public libraries for the 2020/21 Public Lending Right year. For the 2021/22 period, Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain, winner of the Booker Prize in 2020, was the ninth most borrowed book. More recently, Sort Of, the publisher of 2022 winner The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka, grew 137% as a result of the novel’s success, taking the company to a value of over £1m TCM.
The rules state that a longlist of 12 or 13 books – the ‘Booker Dozen’ – is to be selected, followed by a shortlist of six from which the winner is chosen. UK and Irish publishers may submit works of long form fiction written in the English language and published in the UK or Ireland between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023. The number of works a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:
- Publishers with no longlistings – 1 submission
- Publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s) – 2 submissions
- Publishers with 3 or more longlistings – 3 submissions
This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change from year to year. A new work by any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (pre-2002 or post-2018) or Man Booker Prize (2002-2018) is automatically eligible.
The judges also ‘call-in’ a number of works each year. In addition to their main submission(s), a publisher may provide a list of up to five titles for consideration, accompanied by a justification from the editor. The judges are required to call-in no fewer than 10 of these titles. The judges are also permitted to call-in other works published within the requisite dates, even if the work has not been submitted through any other route.
There are no fees for publishers to submit books to the prize, nor to be longlisted, shortlisted or win.
The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening it up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth, providing they were writing novels in English and published in the UK. Novels published in Ireland have been eligible since 2018.
The International Booker Prize – awarded annually in spring – is for the best single work of fiction translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. It was known until 2019 as the Man Booker International Prize when sponsored by Man Group. The winner’s prize purse is £50,000; £25,000 for the author and £25,000 for the translator (or divided equally between multiple translators). There will be a prize of £5,000 for each of the shortlisted titles: £2,500 for the author and £2,500 for the translator (or divided equally between multiple translators).
The announcement of the International Booker Prize 2023 winner, Time Shelter, written by novelist and poet Georgi Gospodinov and translated from Bulgarian by Angela Rodel, was met with huge public and critical acclaim. The first work written in Bulgarian to win the Prize, Time Shelter’s darkly humorous satire on national identity and the dangers of nostalgia has been embraced by readers across the world who have responded to its timely political themes
The International Booker Prize 2023 judging panel was chaired by the prize-winning French-Moroccan novelist, Leïla Slimani. The panel also included Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukrainian; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at the New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, Literary Editor of the Financial Times.
The 2022 International Booker Prize winner, Tomb of Sand, written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell, was met with both public and critical acclaim. The novel made history as the first book originally written in any Indian language to win the prize. The book’s British publisher, Tilted Axis, ordered a 15,000 re-print the day after the winner announcement, and sales saw a 877% jump week on week in volume. HarperVia acquired the rights in the US shortly after.
There is no restriction on the number of submissions per publisher but this will be kept under review and may change in future years.
The judges may ‘call in’ any work published within this timeframe, even if that work has not been submitted or nominated for call in by a publisher. If the publisher agrees that the novel is to be considered then the publisher must sign an undertaking to the effect that the publisher will comply with all the rules of the prize.
There are no fees for publishers to submit books for the prize, nor to be longlisted, shortlisted or win.
The Booker Prizes website, thebookerprizes.com – supported by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok accounts, as well as a YouTube channel – is a unique online space which showcases the 600+ exceptional books that have won, or been longlisted or shortlisted for the Booker Prize and International Booker Prize. The site aims to be an entertaining and illuminating content destination that combines both practical information about the prizes past and present with fresh and original features to bring the books and their authors to life, encouraging readers new and old to visit and revisit titles in the ‘Booker Library’.
The Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood. The Administrator of The International Booker Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – senior editor and culture correspondent, The Economist.
The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) established in 2002. Its purpose is to promote the art and value of literature for the public benefit and its mission is to inspire people to read the world’s best fiction. It is driven by a simple belief – great fiction not only brings joy to millions, it has the power to change the way we think about the world we live in. It is responsible for awarding the Booker Prize for Fiction and the International Booker Prize. Other aspects of the Foundation’s work include reading initiatives in prisons, writers’ visits to universities, the distribution of books to disadvantaged readers, the funding of Braille and audio editions of Booker Prize books through the RNIB, and awarding the annual UEA Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship.
The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Mark Damazer (chair) – freelance journalist and former broadcast executive; Tony Damer (treasurer) – member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants; Nick Barley – Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival; Carol Lake – President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Ben Okri - poet and author; MT Rainey – strategist, agency founder and social entrepreneur; Professor Dame Louise Richardson – President, Carnegie Corporation of New York; Nicki Sheard – President, Brands & Licensing, BBC Studios; The Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts – writer, ex-minister and advocate of fairness between the generations.
The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Nic Bottomley – co-founder, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights; Jamie Byng – Publisher, Canongate Books; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas CBE – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Adam Freudenheim – Publisher, Pushkin Press; Daniel Hahn OBE - writer and translator; Sharmaine Lovegrove – Publisher, Dialogue Books; Emma Paterson – agent, Aitken Alexander Associates; Fiammetta Rocco – senior editor and culture correspondent, The Economist, and The International Booker Prize Administrator; Boyd Tonkin – writer and critic; Helen Williams – Legal Counsel of Booker Group plc. It is chaired by Gaby Wood - Director, Booker Prize Foundation.
Crankstart, a charitable foundation, is the exclusive funder of the Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize.
Premier, the creative communications agency for entertainment, arts and culture handles PR, comms and events management for the prizes and the Booker Prize Foundation.
Booker Group is the UK’s leading food & drink wholesaler with branches nationwide and a delivery network. It serves over 400,000 catering customers and 100,000 independent retailers.
In 2009, the Booker Prize Foundation and the University of East Anglia came together to create the UEA Booker Prize Foundation Scholarship. The Creative Writing course at UEA is a close historical relative of the Booker Prize, boasting as it does a number of alumni who have gone on to win the prize – including Anne Enright, Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan.
It is awarded annually to an applicant who has already been offered a place to study for an MA in Prose Fiction, but who in many cases would not be able to afford to accept were it not for the support of the Booker Prize Foundation. The scholar is chosen each year by members of the Creative Writing department in collaboration with the Director of the Booker Prize Foundation. Many past scholars have since met with acclaim as published authors.
The scholar for 2022/23 is Zanta Nkumane (Eswatini).The past scholars are:
2009-10 D.W. Wilson (Canada)
2010-11 Anthony Good (UK)
2011-12 Eliza Robertson (Canada)
2012-13 Sharlene Teo (Singapore)
2013-14 Sarah Young (New Zealand)
2014-15 Anna Pook (UK)
2015-16 Kristien Potgieter (South Africa)
2016-17 Alake Pilgrim (Trinidad)
2017-18 Francis Gosper (Australia)
2018-19 Stephen Buoro (Nigeria)
2019-20 Daniel Wiles (UK)
2020-21 Esther Opeoluwa (Ope) Adedeji (Nigeria)
2021-22 Michael Egan (UK)
The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). The Foundation funds the production of The Booker Prize for Fiction shortlisted titles in braille and audio, which the RNIB produces by the date the winner is announced. It also funds the production of the winner of the International Booker Prize in these formats. The accessible versions are then made available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss have a limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them – and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB PR Team on 020 7391 2223 or [email protected]
The Booker Prize Foundation has partnered with the National Literary Trust since 2012 to deliver Books Unlocked. The Foundation funds the programme, which has transformed the lives of prisoners and young offenders in the UK by helping them develop a love of reading. Prisoners are able to engage with high-quality writing as copies of The Booker Prize for Fiction and International Booker Prize shortlisted titles are sent out to prison reading groups. These same titles are also serialised as audiobooks on National Prison Radio, which is broadcast into c.80,000 cells, enabling still more prisoners to experience these exceptional stories. Authors go into prisons to discuss their writing directly with reading groups and many also record interviews on National Prison Radio. The shared vision for Books Unlocked is to bring about positive change in prisoners’ life chances. Since 1993, the National Literacy Trust has led the campaign to transform the future of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people by improving their literacy levels. In 2023, the internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter visited a Books Unlocked reading group at HMP Downview. Watch the video of her visit here.
The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University, where it now resides.