Another year, another book project!

Since the Booker Prize began in 1969, a total of 55 novels have won the prestigious literary award. This has included three occasions when two novels have shared the prize – including this year’s winners, Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo – and a ‘Lost Booker Prize’ awarded in 2010 for novels published in 1970 that hadn’t been considered at the time due to the original rules of the competition (more about that at a later date).

My intention is to read all 55 winning novels.

The Booker Prize is awarded annually for the best novel written in the English language and published in the UK and Ireland. Up until 2014, only novels written by Commonwealth, Irish, South African (and later Zimbabwean) writer were eligible, but five years ago that was widened to any English-language novel, a change that has provoked controversy (more about that at a later date) and subsequently led to the prize’s first two American winners.

So why the short history lesson, I hear you ask? It is by way of introducing a new reading project – to read all 55 of the Booker Prize winners, in order of their respective triumph, and hopefully in time to be able to read 2020’s winner as soon as it is announced next October.

‘That sounds like a great idea for a book, Paul,’ I hear you say. You could be right, and if a publisher or two is reading these words, they might think the same thing (more about that, hopefully, at a later date!).

The first ever Booker Prize awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, April 22, 1969, at Stationers’ Hall in London, and the judges arrived at the event having come to their decision on the winner a month beforehand. Nowadays, the final vote is taken on the day of the announcement. The winning novel in 1969 was Something To Answer For by P.H. Newby.

You can check out the full list of Booker Prize-winning novels below, and click on the novels to read my thoughts on them, as and when I have finished the book and published my review…

1969 Something to Answer For PH Newby
1970 The Elected Member Bernice Rubens
1970 Troubles JG Farrell (Lost Booker Prize, awarded in 2010)
1971 In A Free State VS Naipaul
1972 G. John Berger
1973 The Siege of Krishnapur  JG Farrell
1974 The Conservationist Nadine Gordimer
Holiday Stanley Middleton
1975 Heat and Dust Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1976 Saville David Storey
1977 Staying On Paul Scott
1978 The Sea, the Sea Iris Murdoch
1979 Offshore Penelope Fitzgerald
1980 Rites of Passage William Golding
1981 Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
1982 Schindler’s Ark Thomas Keneally
1983 Life & Times of Michael K JM Coetzee
1984 Hotel du Lac Anita Brookner
1985 The Bone People Keri Hulme
1986 The Old Devils Kingsley Amis
1987 Moon Tiger Penelope Lively
1988 Oscar and Lucinda Peter Carey
1989 The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
1990 Possession: A Romance AS Byatt
1991 The Famished Road Ben Okri
1992 The English Patient Michael Ondaatje
Sacred Hunger Barry Unsworth
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Roddy Doyle
1994 How late it was, how late James Kelman
1995 The Ghost Road Pat Barker
1996 Last Orders Graham Swift
1997 The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
1998 Amsterdam Ian McEwan
1999 Disgrace JM Coetzee
2000 The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood
2001 True History of the Kelly Gang Peter Carey
2002 The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
2003 Vernon God Little DBC Pierre
2004 The Line of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst
2005 The Sea John Banville
2006 The Inheritance of Loss Kiran Desai
2007 The Gathering Anne Enright
2008 The White Tiger Aravind Adiga
2009 Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
2010 The Finkler Question Howard Jacobson
2011 The Sense of an Ending Julian Barnes
2012 Bring Up The Bodies Hilary Mantel
2013 The Luminaries Eleanor Catton
2014 The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan
2015 A Brief History of Seven Killings Marlon James
2016 The Sellout Paul Beatty
2017 Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders
2018 Milkman Anna Burns
2019 The Testaments Margaret Atwoods
Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo