1974 Booker Prize

The Booker Prize 1974

Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton, joint winners of 1974 Booker Prize

The Booker Prize’s bugbear – the double win – raised its head for the first time when the award was split between Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist and Stanley Middleton’s Holiday.

Nevertheless, the twin win at least put paid to the embarrassment that had greeted the shortlist announcement. Kingsley Amis’s Ending Up made the cut; all well and good except that his wife, Elizabeth Jane Howard, was one of the judges.

She waved away the whiff of nepotism by declaring that, regardless, it was ‘easily Kinsgley’s best book’. Gordimer meanwhile went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 while Middleton wrote 31 more novels – and turned down an OBE.

Nadine Gordimer
Published by
Jonathan Cape
Nadine Gordimer paints a complex portrait of dangerously deluded and wilfully ignorant privilege, set in South Africa during the time of apartheid.
Stanley Middleton
Published by
Stanley Middleton’s prize-winning novel is both a precisely observed portrait of English provincial life and a moving exploration of grief and regret.

The Shortlist

The Conservationist
Prize winner
Prize winner
Ending Up
In Their Wisdom

The 1974 judges