The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje was announced as the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize on Sunday 8 July at the closing event of the Man Booker 50th Anniversary Festival.
This special one-off prize was chosen by the public from all 51 previous winners. Each of the five judges read the winning novels from one decade of the prize’s history, coming up with the ‘Golden Five’ which then faced a month-long public vote.
Reading Hackers from Newham in London were chosen to attend the Golden Man Booker Live event to hear the announcement as it happened. Read their reaction to the event below:
“Overall, I believe that the Golden Man Booker Prize ceremony was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was deeply inspired by the different shortlisted fictions and cannot wait to begin reading all the books. I was intrigued by the different writing styles used and I am now inspired to read books that I would usually not pick up. I believe that attending the event gave me an insight into the dedication and hard work that authors put into their books, to ensure they engage the reader. The winning book, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje was truly remarkable and I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you to everyone for this amazing opportunity and for inspiring me to read all 50 books!” Diana Hysenaj
“Reflecting on the experience I can honestly say that it is definitely one that will be remembered, as it has opened my eyes to new books that I may not necessarily pick up in a local library. Secondly, I really do love the way that the panel was diverse in age, ethnicity and gender, but also I love how the actors at the event were able to bring the books to life. The diverse panel held significance as it got rid of pre-conceived stereotypical views around events, such as the Golden Man Booker and therefore reflected the fact that reading books in general can be done by anyone and can influence anyone and everyone in various ways.” Caroline Adegoke
Rajia Khan, Community Neighbourhoods Service Development Officer, Newham, joined the young people at the event and has this to say:
“It was a pleasure to attend the 50th Anniversary of The Man Booker Prize. Working within the library service for over 11 years has allowed me access to these books, however in all honestly, I have never chosen to actually read any of the shortlisted books until now! The five actors who came on stage and read extracts from the books were able to portray and capture the soul of the writings, in turn compelling me to read these books! I fell in love with Moon Tiger and Lincoln in the Bardo. The whole event was wonderfully put together. I loved the discussions between the presenter and the judges and enjoyed their lively conversations and reasons for choosing their chosen shortlisted book and of course it was a pleasure being able to hear from the authors themselves.”
More from the Man Booker Prize
The longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on Tuesday 24 July so keep an eye out online. This prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK. The shortlist will be announced on 20 September and the winner on 16 October, so you have plenty of time to read the books!
In 2016, a group of London Reading Hackers interviewed Man Booker judge Jon Day. Find out what they asked him!
You can find out more about The Man Booker Prize on their website.