The Booker Prize and me

the_man_booker_prize_2015_logoIn 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?

The Man Booker Prize

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 Cattonread 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 Barnesread in 2012

2010: The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobsen

2009: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – see above

2008: The White Tiger by Aravind Adigaread 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 Pierreread 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 Byattread 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

1981: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – yay, I’ve read the winner from the year I was born! And this was picked as the Booker of Bookers back in 1993 so it’s a lot like having read two winners.

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

Man Booker International Prize

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 Munroread Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

2007: Chinua Achebe – read Things Fall Apart and An Image of Africa, which are probably his most famous works.

2005: Ismail Kadare