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…