Lord Butler presenting the 1973 Booker Prize to J.G. Farrell
JG Farrell followed John Berger’s attack on the sponsors by launching one of his own, using his winner’s speech to criticise Booker McConnell’s involvement in Third World agriculture.
The sponsors must have been wondering what they had let themselves in for when Farrell, who won the prize for The Siege of Krishnapur, a brilliantly vivid novel set during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, took aim at them. Unlike Berger, however, Farrell deigned to keep the prize money for himself.
The prize doesn’t bear grudges and Farrell was to become a double winner when in 2010 Troubles won the Lost Man Booker Prize, retrospectively correcting a 1970/1 chronological glitch.