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Book awards: Cheltenham Booker Prize

Book awards by cover

Works (12)

Esther Waters by George Moore1894, 1994
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy1895, 1995
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells1896, 1996
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray1847, 1997
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh1928, 1998
Lord of the Flies by William Golding1954, 1999
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhysnot in English Common Knowledge1966, 2006
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Patonnot in English Common Knowledge1948, 2008
Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Rothnot in English Common Knowledge1969, 2009
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leenot in English Common Knowledge1960, 2010
Another Country by James Baldwinnot in English Common Knowledge1962, 2012
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford1915, 2015

Award description


At the Booker Prize dinner in 1993, Gillian Beer, one of the judges that year, and I fell into discussing who might have won the prize if it had existed a century earlier. Gillian, an authority on Victorian fiction, started mentioning authors: Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, George du Maurier as well as the now less familiar George Gissing and George Moore. Our enthusiasm was such that at the interval before the presentation of the 1993 prize to Roddy Doyle I spoke to Sir Michael Caine, chairman of Booker plc and to Humphrey Carpenter, director of the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Within minutes an idea had been born to stage a 'Cheltenham Booker' at the 1994 festival when a panel of critics would debate the merits of a shortlist of 1894 novels, one of which would emerge as the winner. And so an annual event began. The form has changed little although the number of books has been reduced. And each year's event begins with John Coldstream giving a portrait of the year in question. We apply some local rules as those familiar with the Booker (now Man Booker) prize will be quick to spot - at Cheltenham we allow American authors. And in its tenth year we changed the format further, for one year only, asking the judges to choose 'the one that got away', ie the best novel from those that failed to win the Booker in their year of publication.

Ion Trewin, Literary Director for the Man Booker Prizes.


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