Booker Prize: History, Administration and Judging

History and Administration :

The Booker Prize or Man Booker Prize is a literary prize for given to the fiction authors. This award is given each year for the best and original full-length novel written in English language by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe.  This award was originally known as “Booker-McConnell Prize”, after the company Booker-McConnell started sponsoring the event in the year 1968. For an author it is indeed a mark of distinction to be selected for the nomination for the Booker Prize.

Although Booker prize have a long history adhered to it. In the year 2002, the administration was transferred to the Booker prize Foundation; the title sponsor became the investment company “ManGroup” which opted to hang on to “Booker” as a part of the official title of the award. The booker Prize Foundation is an independent registered charity funded by the entire profits of Booker Prize Trading Ltd., it is the only shareholder. The prize money awarded with the Booker Prize was initially £21,000 apart from the prestige the author would be getting, but the prize money was afterward raised to £50,000 in the year 2002 under the sponsorship of the Man Group. After the prize money has increased, the award has become world’s richest award for literary fiction.

During the year 1971, the rules of the Booker prize have changed. Previously, the award was given to the best books published prior to the year in which the award was given. In 1971, after the rule for nomination changed, the year of eligibility was changed to the same as the year of the award. But that created a problem, the books published in the year 1970 were not considered for the Booker prize nomination in the year 1971 or either year. But, in January 2010, the Booker Prize Foundation announced about a special award which was called as “Lost Man Booker Prize” to choose the winner and honor the author with Booker prize of the books published in the year 1970. Initially, the list of each year’s Booker nominees was not publicly displayed, but from the year 2001, the procedure changed and the list is being publicly displayed.

Since the inception of the Booker Prize, it has been a source of great inspiration to the fiction authors to write more and create quality works. Also Booker Prize helps in creating a good market for the Book that wins the title. Comparative study says, books that won Booker prize do record businesses than other books. This award is greeted with great fanfare and is a matter of prestige for the author winning it.

Judging :

The Man-Booker prize or the Booker prize is the highest awards for the literary fiction. This award is given each year for the best fiction novel of the year. Receiving this award is not only a matter of prestige but this award also commits highest renown and success to the book and the author itself. The Booker prize is greeted with so much of anticipation by both the authors and the fanfare. Getting the award is of course a matter of prestige but getting nominated in the long list of authors for the booker prize is not a very trifling matter. Previously the prize money for the Booker Prize was around £21,000, but in the year 2002, the prize money was raised to £50,000, making booker, the highest prize for literary fiction.

The rules and norms for the award are extremely stringent. Firstly, long lists for all the fictional books of the year are taken into long list of nomination. From the long list of nomination few books are taken into consideration for the award and after reviewing the shortlisted books, the award is given to one author. Previously, the rules were different and bit lenient. But in the year 1971, various new rules were made in order to make the norms and judging procedure strong enough. During that year, rule was made that only books that were published in the year in which the Booker prize was given will be nominated. No books published prior to the year of which the award is given would get nominated. As a result, the books published in the year 1970 were not considered for the booker in the year 1970 or 1971. But in 2010, a special award was given to the best fiction book that published in the year 1970, naming the award as “Lost Man Booker Prize”.

The judging process for the winner of the Booker prize starts with the formation of an advisory committee inclusive of a writer, a literary agent, a bookseller, two publishers, a librarian, and the chairperson of the advisory committee is appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation. The advisory committee is given all the right to select the judging panel.  The membership of the judging panel changes every year. Yet, one cannot deny, that on rare occasion a judge may be selected a second time. Normally judges are selected from the leading literary critics, academics, writers and leading public figures. The winner of the Booker award is announced at the final ceremony in London’s Guildhall, the usual timing for the Booker award ceremony is usually in early October. This award has created buzz since the time of its inception and has inspired many authors around the globe.

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