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.

P. H. Newby
Published by
Faber & Faber
P.H. Newby’s 17th novel made literary history in 1969, when it was named as the inaugural winner of the Booker Prize.

The Shortlist

The Nice and the Good
The Public Image
Figures in a Landscape
Impossible Object

The 1969 judges