1988 Booker Prize

The Booker Prize 1988

Michael Caine, Peter Carey, Salman Rushdie and friends at the Booker Prize event 1988

Peter Carey’s first Booker Prize win, for Oscar and Lucinda, took the honours but Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses offered terrifying proof that literature could be truly dangerous.

Having been shortlisted in 1985, the Australian Carey triumphed in a year when books made the news for the wrong reasons. The approbation that greeted Carey’s quirky tale of a glass church and a bet in rural 19th-century Australia was in glaring contrast to the firestorm that hit Rushdie with the publication of The Satanic Verses.

The Iranian fatwa issued against him left him in hiding under police protection. Although the novel was shortlisted, literary prizes suddenly seemed to belong to a parallel universe. 

Peter Carey
Published by
Faber & Faber
Peter Carey’s rich and endlessly inventive tale about two unusual characters in 19th-century Australia won the Booker Prize in 1988.

The Shortlist

Oscar and Lucinda
Prize winner
Nice Work
The Satanic Verses
The Lost Father

The 1988 judges