David Storey receives the 1976 Booker prize trophy

The Booker Prize 1976

David Storey receiving the 1976 Booker prize from Michael Caine

The year when the prime minister, Harold Wilson, dropped in for dinner and the prize itself, for the first and only time, was won by a professional rugby league player, David Storey.

Harold Wilson joined the awards dinner for pudding because his wife, Mary Wilson, was one of the judges. His late arrival was due to attending a boxing match so he would have approved of David Storey’s sporting past, his northern roots (Storey was from Wakefield, Wilson from nearby Huddersfield), and the winning book, Saville, a story set in a Yorkshire mining village.

This was also the first Booker Prize win for the publisher Jonathan Cape – it currently has eight, more than any other publisher. 

David Storey
Published by
Jonathan Cape
Set in and around the Second World War, David Storey’s tale about a boy from a mining town who grows away from his roots won the Booker Prize in 1976.

The Shortlist

Prize winner
An Instant in the Wind
The Doctor's Wife
King Fisher Lives

The 1976 judges