The first year of the Booker Prize for Fiction, sponsored by the food wholesalers Booker McConnell Ltd and with a £5,000 cheque for the winner. No one knew quite what to expect.
In picking up the award and the glory, P.H. Newby, with Something to Answer For, saw off both Muriel Spark and Iris Murdoch. Writing wasn’t even Newby’s day job; he was as a high-ranking BBC radio producer and Controller of Radio Three.
He managed to keep both strands running in parallel – his winning novel was his 17th – and although the prize quickly demonstrated something of its future potency by catapulting Newby on to the best-seller lists he saw out his career at the BBC.