To mark the 50th anniversary in 2018, The Booker Prize Foundation launched the Golden Man Booker Prize.
This was a special one-off award that crowned the best work of fiction from the last five decades of prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public. The Golden Man Booker put all 51 winners – all of which are still in print – back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today. The five books, chosen by judges, were then put to a month-long public vote from 26 May to 25 June to decide the overall winner.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Bloomsbury) was crowned the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the Man Booker Prize, announced on Sunday 8 July 2018. The Golden Man Booker winner was revealed at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre.
Five judges were appointed to read the winning novels from each decade of the prize: writer and editor Robert McCrum (1970s); poet Lemn Sissay MBE (1980s); novelist Kamila Shamsie (1990s); broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (2000s); and poet Hollie McNish (2010s).
Each judge chose what, in their own opinion, was the best winner from that particular decade, and championed that book against the other judges’ selections. The judges’ ‘Golden Five’ shortlist was announced at the Hay Festival on 26 May 2018, before being put to a month-long public vote to decide the overall winner.
Above: A collection of clips including each decade’s judge speaking about their personal choice for the shortlist.
Right: Golden Man Booker-winning author Michael Ondaatje