Towards the end of a long career as an art historian, Anita Brookner turned to fiction and Hotel du Lac, her fourth novel, triumphed over a heavyweight Booker Prize shortlist.

Brookner herself was surprised: she had thought J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun would win and claimed, in very Brooknerish fashion, that the first thing she’d do with the prize money would be to have her shoes resoled. She went on to be a prolific novelist; over the next two decades publishing almost a book a year.

Her fiction, often dealing with lonely and alienated women, was both timeless and stylish and The Next Big Thing won her a place on the Man Booker Prize longlist in 2002.

Anita Brookner
Published by
Jonathan Cape
Anita Brookner’s Booker Prize-winning novel focuses on a novelist who has taken refuge from life in a hotel on the misty shores of Lake Geneva.

The Shortlist

Small World
Hotel du Lac
Prize winner
Empire of the Sun
Flaubert's Parrot
In Custody
According to Mark

The 1984 judges