Beryl Bainbridge at home in Camden Town, London, 1998
The late, much-loved Dame Beryl Bainbridge was shortlisted five times for the Booker Prize - the most that any author has been shortlisted - but never actually won.
In her honour, the Booker Prize Foundation created a special prize in 2011, The Man Booker ‘Best of Beryl’. The winning novel, as chosen by the public, was Master Georgie - originally shortlisted for the 1998 Man Booker Prize and described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘Truly extraordinary, heartbreakingly good.’ All five novels were reissued by Abacus.
The winning book was announced at a party in Soho to celebrate the author’s life. The prize - a one-off, designer-bound copy of the book - was accepted by Beryl’s daughter Jojo Davies and grandson Charlie Russell on behalf of the family. The evening included tributes from Sir Ronald Harwood; AN Wilson; her long-standing agent, Andrew Hewson and Publisher at Little, Brown, Richard Beswick.
Beryl was a very gracious non-winner and no Man Booker dinner was complete without her. She may have been known as the eternal Booker Bridesmaid, but we are delighted to be able finally to crown Master Georgie a Booker Bride.— Ion Trewin, then Literary Director of the Booker Foundation and former judge of the prize