Published on Submitted by Natalie on Tue, 31/03/2009 - 11:54
Literary luminaries associated with The Man Booker Prize for Fiction are today (31 March) planting an avenue of native oak trees as a symbolic gesture to compensate for the trees felled in order to produce the hundred-plus books submitted for the prize each year.
Judges of the 2008 Prize are planting 13 saplings in the Woodland Trust's new woodland site at Theydon Bois in Essex as a living commemoration of the ‘Booker Dozen' - the 13 titles chosen for that year's longlist.
Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Man Booker Prizes, is joined by 2008 Man Booker Prize Judges including Michael Portillo, former MP, Cabinet Minister and the 2008 Chair of Judges; Alex Clark, literary journalist and Louise Doughty, novelist.
The collaboration came about after the 2008 judges decided they would like to replenish some of the trees cut down to produce the many novels submitted for the prize. A hundred and twelve novels were submitted that year, and it seemed only fitting to give something back.
Ion Trewin comments, ‘I can't think of a more fitting way of putting something back. I hope this planting of a grove of trees might prove an annual event leading ultimately to a wood, even a Man Booker forest.'
Theydon Bois, a 97-acre site where thousands of native broadleaf trees have been planted since the Trust acquired it in 1997, is close to Epping Forest - indeed was probably once a part of that huge hunting forest - and is the penultimate stop on the Central tube line.
Laura Judson, Head of Regional Development at the Woodland Trust, comments, "We are only too pleased to host such a symbolic planting ceremony so close to the centre of London. There is no better way to illustrate the direct connection between the vast amount of print material consumed in the name of literature and the raw materials required to produce it, not to mention the huge importance of tree planting in one of the least forested countries in Europe."
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Notes to Editors:
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* 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 website: www.themanbookerprize.com. It is a major media and information tool which is accessed worldwide with up to the minute information about both the annual Man Booker Prize and the biennial man Booker International Prize. Featuring news, interviews and written pieces as well as a lively forum and full history archive of the prize, the site is used by journalists, bloggers and general members of the public on a daily basis.
* The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Atlantic Books) won the Man Booker Prize 2008.
* 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, Chair (Literary Director, 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; 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. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, has recently been appointed President of the Foundation.
* Man Group plc has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002.
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 around $50 billion.
The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index with a market capitalisation of around £3.5 billion. Man Group is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index.
Man supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes). In the year to March 2008 the Man Group plc Charitable Trust gave 12% of its $12m charitable budget to charities concerned with improving literacy. A major contribution in the literacy category was a £1m pledge to the ‘Every Child a Reader' reading recovery programme spread over three years from 2006. Other sizeable donations were made to Dyslexia Action and Kids Company Reading Recovery Teachers, whilst smaller contributions were made to Write to Life, Bookaid International, Volunteer Reading Help, The Shannon Trust, RNIB Talking Books and St. Petrock's (Exeter). Further information can be found at www.mangroupplc.com.
* Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses.
* The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides.
* Each year The Booker Prize Foundation pays for the production of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlisted titles in Braille, Giant Print and Audio formats by the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB). The Foundation is also working with the Sound Archive of the British Library on its 'National Life Stories - Authors' Lives' project by funding archive interviews with shortlisted authors.
* The Woodland Trust is the UK's leading woodland conservation charity with 300,000 members and supporters. The Trust has four key aims: i) No further loss of ancient woodland; ii) Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods; iii) Increasing new native woodland; iv) Increasing people's understanding and enjoyment of woodland. Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free.
Further news can be found via: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk All media enquiries: 01476 581121