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Booker 40 at the V&A

Booker 40 at the V&A

A display celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Booker and the Man Booker Prize

Have you ever wondered how the Booker judges come to their decision? Have you have ever wanted to know how the most important literary prize in the English speaking world was set up? Are you interested in the changing look of literary fiction over the years?

If the answer is yes, then you'll be delighted to hear that in September the V&A Museum is to host The Booker 40 at the V&A - a display celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Booker and the Man Booker Prize. This is the first time that such a collection of archive material has been on public display. It opens on 6 September 2008 and runs until 17 May 2009.

The display is a fascinating insight into the prize. It includes every book which has won since 1969, as well as a wide selection of shortlisted titles. It also looks at how the design of book jackets has changed over the past 40 years, and includes ephemera such as posters and other promotional materials.

Since 1991 each winning and shortlisted writer has received a unique bound book made by members of the British Society of Designer Bookbinders. A selection of these beautiful contemporary bookbindings has been loaned from the authors for the display.

Also in the display is a real gem of a find - the original Booker trophy which was created by the artist Jan Pienkowski. The trophy is on loan from the family of Bernice Rubens, winner of the Booker Prize in 1970. This award was given to the winner in just the first four years of the prize. In 1973 a new, smaller version of the trophy was created by Patricia Turner who scaled it down from its original height of 25" to 10".

In a special section of the display dedicated to collecting, one Booker fan reveals his passion for the book proofs, memorabilia and the many different editions of winning and shortlisted books which have been published around the world.

The Booker 40 at the V&A brings together the very best of the news and the gossip that has made ‘the Booker' one of the most talked about and influential literary prizes in the world.

Some of the content for the display has come from private individuals as well as from The Booker Prize Archive which has been housed at Oxford Brookes University since 2003.   

Peter Straus, the Booker archivist, comments: "The Booker 40 at the V&A is a  fascinating and insightful exhibition which hopefully will bring many more readers of Booker shortlisted and winning authors on board".

For further information contact:

Jane Acton / Katy MacMillan-Scott at Colman Getty

Tel: 020 7631 2666

Notes to editors

  • Ion Trewin, administrator for the Man Booker Prizes, and Peter Straus are available for interview through Colman Getty

  • Images available through Colman Getty

  • Entry to the V&A is FREE.

  • The Booker 40 at the V&A will be on display in Gallery 74

  • The V&A is open daily 10.00 - 17.45 and until 22.00 on Fridays.

  • The nearest underground station is South Kensington (Piccadilly, District and Circle lines).

  • For general information call 020 7942 2000 or visit

  • If you would like further information about the Booker Prize Archive or to arrange to view it please contact Chris Fowler, Subject Librarian for Publishing at Oxford Brookes University on 01865 483138

  • The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man Group plc was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002, with a five year extension agreed in 2006. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the Prizes section of the website. The site features the rules of entry, background information and breaking news and is the quickest way for the prize's worldwide audience to access information

  • 41 authors have won the prize since it launched in 1969 because in 1974 and 1992 there were two winners. In 1974 Nadine Gordimer won with The Conversationist and Stanley Middleton with Holiday. In 1992 Michael Ondaatje with The English Patient shared the top spot with Barry Unsworth and Sacred Hunger. From 1993 onwards the rules stipulated that there could only be one winner per year.

  • The Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all sides of the book world. Its members are: Ion Trewin (Administrator, Man Booker Prizes); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary, Booker Ltd; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man Group plc; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Victoria Glendinning, writer; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Gerry Johnson, Managing Director, Waterstone's; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation);  Robert Topping, Topping & Company Booksellers and Erica Wagner, literary editor, The Times

  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; former Man Booker Prize administrator, Martyn Goff CBE; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; writer, Baroness Neuberger DBE; MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce


  • Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business.  With a broad range of funds for institutional and private investors globally, it is known for its performance, innovative product design and investor service.  Man manages over $78 billion and       employs 1,600 people in 13 countries worldwide.

  • The original business was founded in 1783.  Today the parent company, Man Group plc, is listed on the London Stock Exchange.  It is ranked in the top 40 companies of the FTSE100 Index with a market capitalisation of about $20 billion.

  • Man supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes and the Man Group International Climate Change Award.  Further information can be found at

  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide.  It serves over 350,000 independent businesses.