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Man Booker Prize 2008 Winner Announced

Man Booker Prize 2008 Winner Announced

First-time novelist, Aravind Adiga, hits the Man Booker jackpot

Image of Aravind AdigaAravind Adiga is tonight (Tuesday 14 October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The White Tiger, published by Atlantic.

The Indian writer is one of two first-time novelists on the 2008 Man Booker shortlist of six. The other is Steve Toltz. Only three other debut novelists have achieved this in the past - Keri Hulme for her novel The Bone People, DBC Pierre in 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little and Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things.

Thirty-three year old Aravind Adiga, who has wanted to be a novelist since he was a boy, was born in Madras and now lives in Mumbai. The White Tiger is a 'compelling, angry and darkly humorous' novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by one reviewer as an ‘unadorned portrait' of India seen ‘from the bottom of the heap'.

Aravind Adiga is the fourth Indian born-author to win the prize, joining compatriots Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai who won the prize in 1981, 1997 and 2006 respectively.  A fifth winner, V S Naipaul is of Indian ancestry.  In addition, The White Tiger is the ninth winning novel to take its inspiration from India or Indian identity.

Tonight's win is a first for publisher Atlantic; although they had a book shortlisted for the prize in 2003 with The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut and in 2004 with Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor.

Michael Portillo, Chair of the judges, made the announcement, which was broadcast live on the BBC Ten O' Clock News, at the awards dinner at the Guildhall, London. Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man Group plc, presented Aravind Adiga with a cheque for £50,000.

Michael Portillo comments,

"The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure.

"The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding the reader's sympathy for a thoroughgoing villain. The book gains from dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour."

Over and above his prize of £50,000, Aravind Adiga may expect a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book.

The judging panel for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction comprised: Michael Portillo, former MP and Cabinet Minister; Alex Clark, editor of Granta; Louise Doughty, novelist; James Heneage, founder of Ottakar's bookshops; and Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV and radio broadcaster.

The Winner

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Atlantic Books, £12.99

Born in the heartland of India to the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram Halwai, the ‘White Tiger', dreams of escaping his life as a teashop worker turned chauffeur. Yet when his chance finally arrives and his eyes are opened to the revelatory city of New Delhi, Balram becomes caught between his instinct to be a loyal son and servant and his desire to better himself.  As he passes through two different Indias on his journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success, he begins to realise how the Tiger might finally escape his cage, and he is not afraid to spill a little blood along the way.

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras on 23 October 1974 and raised partly in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities and is a former correspondent for Time magazine in India. Adiga's articles have also appeared in publications such as the Financial Times, Independent and Sunday Times. He currently lives in Mumbai.

For further information or interview requests please contact:

Karen Duffy on 020 7269 1621 or at [email protected]


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Notes to Editors:


The other 2008 shortlisted titles were:


Author                            Title                                                      Publisher                    

Sebastian Barry               The Secret Scripture                             Faber and Faber

Amitav Ghosh                Sea of Poppies                         John Murray

Linda Grant                    The Clothes on Their Backs                  Virago

Philip Hensher                 The Northern Clemency                       Fourth Estate

Steve Toltz                      A Fraction of the Whole                      Hamish Hamilton


  • There were 112 entries for the Man Booker Prize this year; 103 were submitted by publishers and nine were called in by the judges.


  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) won the Man Booker Prize 2007.

It has now sold over half a million copies in English language editions worldwide.


  • The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man Group plc was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002, with a five year extension agreed in 2006. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website: It is a major media and information tool which is accessed worldwide with up to the minute information about both the annual Man Booker Prize and the biennial man Booker International Prize. Featuring news, interviews and written pieces as well as a lively forum and full history archive of the prize, the site is used by journalists, bloggers and general members of the public on a daily basis.


  • Every year publishers are allowed to submit two books for the Man Booker Prize. Every former Booker Prize winner and any author who has appeared on the shortlist in the last ten years is also eligible.


  • 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize (now the Man Booker Prize) for Fiction. To mark the occasion, a range of events and initiatives have been taking place throughout the year.


The V&A Museum is currently hosting an exhibition - The Booker 40 at the V&A - which tells the visual story of the prize over the years.  The display includes every book which has won since 1969 as well as a wide selection of shortlisted titles and one of the original Booker trophies. It examines what made ‘The Booker' one of the most talked about and influential literary prizes in the English speaking world. It opened on 6th September and will run until 17th May 2009. For further information please visit


The British Council is working towards the creation of an online collection of contemporary British literature and is in negotiation with publishers to include former winners of the Booker Prize and Man Booker Prize as e-books, which can be purchased. 


  • The Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all sides of the book world. Its members are: Ion Trewin, Chair (Literary Director, Man Booker Prizes); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary, Booker Ltd; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man Group plc; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Victoria Glendinning, writer; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Gerry Johnson, Managing Director, Waterstone's; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers and Erica Wagner, literary editor, The Times.


  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; writer, Baroness Neuberger DBE; MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, has recently been appointed President of the Foundation.


  • Man Group plc has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002 and is this year celebrating its own notable anniversary - its 225th.


Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. With a broad range of funds for institutional and private investors globally, it is known for its performance, innovative product design and investor service. Man manages over USD70 billion and employs 1,800 people in 13 countries worldwide.

The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and ranked in the top 50 companies of the FTSE 100 index, with a market capitalisation of USD10 billion*.

Man supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes and the Man Group International Climate Change Award. In the year to March 2008 the Man Group plc Charitable Trust gave 12% of its $12m charitable budget to charities concerned with improving literacy. A major contribution in the literacy category was a £1m pledge to the ‘Every Child a Reader' reading recovery programme spread over three years from 2006. Other sizeable donations were made to Dyslexia Action and Kids Company Reading Recovery Teachers, whilst smaller contributions were made to Write to Life, Bookaid International, Volunteer Reading Help, The Shannon Trust, RNIB Talking Books and St. Petrock's (Exeter). Further information can be found at


* Estimated at 29 September 2008


  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses.


  • The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides.


  • Each year The Booker Prize Foundationpays forthe production ofthe Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlisted titles in Braille, Giant Print and Audio formats by the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB). The Foundation is also working with the Sound Archive of the British Library onits 'National Life Stories - Authors' Lives' project by funding archive interviews withshortlisted authors.


For further information and press enquiries please contact

Jill Cotton or Lucy Chavasse at Colman Getty

Tel: 020 7631 2666

E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]