The year of a new sponsor – the Man Group – and a rejected novel, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, which went on to become one of the biggest-selling books in the prize’s history.

The Canadian Martel had been turned down by five London publishing houses unable to grasp his book’s mix of adventure and allegory before it was taken on by Canongate. It proved a shrewd, and profitable, signing: the novel not only became the inaugural winner of the Man Booker Prize but has now sold in excess of 10 million copies worldwide and been adapted into a hugely successful film.

President Barack Obama is a fan, writing to Martel that the novel represents ‘an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling’. 

Yann Martel
Published by
Yann Martel’s warmly engaging philosophical novel is brimming with invention, ideas and playful conceits. A true modern classic.

The Shortlist

Life of Pi
Prize winner
Family Matters
The Story of Lucy Gault
Dirt Music

The Longlist

The 2002 judges