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Golden Man Booker Prize

4 July 2018

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The Golden Man Booker is a special, one-off prize to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize. It will crown the best work of fiction from the last 50 years, and is chosen by a public vote.

One winning book from each decade of the prize was chosen by judges, and the ultimate winner will be announced on Sunday 8 July 2018 at a weekend-long festival of talks, readings and masterclasses at the Southbank Centre in London. Some of the events are free, and there are still tickets available for the closing event, Golden Man Booker Live, when the prize-winner will be announced.

Golden Man Booker shortlist

In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul (won in 1971)

A novel with two supporting narratives dealing with exile and displacement. In the first story, we meet an Indian servant who accompanies his master to Washington, D.C. As he tries to find new work, he fears that his master will find him and that he will be deported. The second story follows a rural West Indian family and two brothers who go to England, one to study engineering, and the other to help him.

The main storyline of the book is set in a fictional African country that has just gained independence. However, violence is rising and people no longer feel sale. Bobby and Linda, both English, travel through the country encountering problems as they go.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (won in 1987)

Written from multiple points of view and travelling through time, Moon Tiger is the story of a dying woman who writes the history of the world through her life. It’s about love, war and growing up, of the different people who come into her life, and her lasting memories of them. Moon Tiger has been described as the ‘life-changing’ story of a ‘forceful character.’

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (won in 1992)

The English Patient explores the lives of four war-torn people who take refuge in a damaged villa north of Florence in 1945: the unnamed English patient; Caravaggio, the Italian-Canadian former thief and spy; Hana, a Canadian Army nurse and Kip, an Indian Sikh bomb disposal expert. The English patient tells his stories of a love affair in North Africa, having a huge impact on those listening. The English Patient was so popular that it was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1996.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (won in 2009)

In Tudor England, Henry VIII wants to end his twenty-year long marriage to Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope won’t let him get a divorce, so in comes Thomas Cromwell: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Wolf Hall was so successful that the BBC made it into a TV show in 2015 with Damian Lewis and Claire Foy.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (won in 2017)

In 1862, after the death of his son, Abraham Lincoln visits the cemetery alone at night. His son, Willie, finds himself in a strange purgatory of spirits, whose speeches carry the narrative as Lincoln grieves and Willie remains in a limbo before moving onto the afterlife.

A challenging, experimental book about family and grief.

Get involved

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Let us know your thoughts online using #ManBooker50 and tagging @readingagency