The Golden Man Booker has revealed the shortlist of five books in contention for the Golden Man Booker Prize.
This special one-off award (not to be confused with the annual Man Booker Prize), marks the 50th anniversary of the award. It’s aim is to crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.
The shortlist (in chronological order) is:
In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul (UK), published by Picador
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (UK), published by Penguin
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Canada), published by Bloomsbury
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (UK), published by 4th Estate
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (USA), published by Bloomsbury
The judging panel consisted of: 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).
In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul represents the first decade of the prize, and was chosen by writer and editor Robert McCrum, who described it as “outstandingly the best novel to win the Booker Prize in the 1970s, a disturbing book about displaced people at the dangerous edge of a disrupted world that could have been written yesterday, a classic for all seasons”. Naipaul, who also received the Nobel Prize for Literature, is the oldest living winner of the Booker Prize.
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively was picked by poet Lemn Sissay MBE to represent the best winner of 1980s. Sissay said: “Lively’s ability to bring her character and the world she inhabits into full technicolour is beautiful. This is a unique book about a fascinating unpredictable woman way ahead of her time and yet absolutely of her time.”
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje was selected by novelist Kamila Shamsie for the 1990s, who called it, “that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight”. Anthony Minghella directed an Oscar-winning film adaptation of the novel.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel was chosen as the best winner from the noughties by broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo. Mantel is the only woman to have won the Man Booker Prize twice and Wolf Hall has since been adapted for TV and stage. Mayo said that “in its questioning of what England is and how it can disengage from Rome … [Wolf Hall is a] book as anguished as any essay about Brexit you’ll read in the papers”.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, the most recent winner of the Man Booker Prize, was selected by poet Hollie McNish for the 2010s. Although well-known as a short story writer, the book is Saunders’ first full-length novel. McNish said, “I have never read a book like Lincoln in the Bardo … it was so funny, imaginative and tragic, but also a piece of genius in its originality of form and structure.”
Voting on the five short-listed books is now open. The month-long public vote runs from 26 May to 25 June 2018 on the Man Booker Prize website. To have your say and vote your favourite now, head over to: www.themanbookerprize.com/vote .
The winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize will be announced and presented with a trophy at the Golden Man Booker Live, the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival at the London’s South Bank Centre on 8 July at 7 p.m. (BST) or 4 a.m. on 9 July (AEST).