In honour of this week’s Booker Prize shortlist announcement, I thought I would take a look at the past winners and which of them I have read. (I should add that I have not read any of this year’s shortlist, or even longlist, but based on previous works I’m rooting for Deborah Levy.)
I’ve done a quick count of various prizewinners before, back in 2012. At that point, proportionally I had read more Women’s Prize for Fiction winners, with the Booker Prize coming second. I was curious whether that activity had, perhaps even subconsciously, encouraged me to read more prizewinners.
It turns out, of the 54 winners to date (including the international prize), I’ve read 16 and now have three in my TBR. That’s really not much higher than in 2012.
Scanning the winners on the prize website has actually made me want to read more of them though. Where should I start?
2015: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – I’ve been loaned this by my friend Claire but on first attempt couldn’t get into it. I’ll give it another try soon.
2014: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
2013: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – read in 2014
2012: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – I have a fear that Mantel will be hard work, but I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed her short story “The assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983”.
2011: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – read in 2012
2010: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobsen
2009: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – see above
2008: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga – read in 2013
2007: The Gathering by Anne Enright
2006: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai – read pre-blog
2005: The Sea by John Banville – TBR
2004: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst – read pre-blog
2003: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre – read in 2010
2002: Life of Pi by Yann Martel – read pre-blog. I really liked this book and Martel’s other works, such as his short story collection The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios and other stories.
2001: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
2000: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – read pre-blog
1999: Disgrace by JM Coetzee – TBR
1998: Amsterdam by Ian McEwan – I genuinely don’t remember anything about this but according to the way I file my books I have read it. I went through a phase of reading lots of McEwan during uni.
1997: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1996: Last Orders by Graham Swift
1995: The Ghost Road by Pat Barker
1994: How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman
1993: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle – read for GCSE English in 1995 or 1996
1992: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
1991: The Famished Road by Ben Okri
1990: Possession by AS Byatt – read twice
1989: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – read a while back. I really like Ishiguro.
1988: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey – read and really enjoyed
1987: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1986: The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis – I haven’t read anything by Amis Sr but I do have Lucky Jim on the TBR.
1985: The Bone People by Keri Hulme
1984: Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner – Brookner is one of those authors I feel like I should like but the one time I tried one of her books I was unimpressed and gave up.
1983: Life & Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee
1982: Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
1980: Rites of Passage by William Golding
1979: Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
1978: The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch – I think I started this and gave up. I have yet to find a Murdoch novel I get on with. There’s a chance she’s not my thing.
1977: Staying On by Paul Scott
1976: Saville by David Storey
1975: Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1974: The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
1973: The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
1972: G by John Berger
1971: In a Free State by VS Naipaul
1970: The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
1969: Something to Answer For by PH Newby
2016: The Vegetarian by Han Kang – this is the first year the prize was awarded to a specific book in translation, rather than a body of work. This book had mixed reviews and so far no-one has said anything that convinced me I would like it.
2015: László Krasznahorkai – I’ve not yet read anything by him but his publisher kindly sent me three of his books earlier this year and they look really good.
2013: Lydia Davis – a lot of her short stories have been on the Selected Shorts podcast, which I used to listen to much more often than I do now.
2011: Philip Roth
2009: Alice Munro – read Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
2005: Ismail Kadare