Kazuo Ishiguro won with Remains of the Day but only after a row in which two female judges excluded Martin Amis’s London Fields from the running for its unfeminist anti-heroine.

While the three male judges were keen on Amis’s novel, both Maggie Gee and Helen McNeil thought the depiction of Nicola Six was misogynistic and Gee threatened resignation if it made the shortlist. The women won the day.

The fuss, however, failed to overshadow the merits of Ishiguro’s novel – stylish, nuanced, with a memorably unreliable narrator in the butler Stevens – which was later turned into an Oscar-nominated film scripted by another Booker Prize winner, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

Kazuo Ishiguro
Published by
Faber & Faber
Kazuo Ishiguro’s moving portrait of the perfect English butler, his loyalty and his fading, insular world in post-war England.

The Shortlist

Cat's Eye
The Book of Evidence
A Disaffection

The 1989 judges