You are here

The Lost Man Booker Prize

The Lost Man Booker Prize

Celebrating books that missed out on the prize in 1970

Melvyn Bragg, Len Deighton, J.G. Farrell, Susan Hill, David Lodge, Ruth Rendell and Patrick White are just some of the authors who could win The Lost Man Booker Prize which is unveiled today, Monday 1st February. This is a one-off prize to honour books published in 1970 which missed out on the opportunity to win the Booker Prize.

In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became, as it is today, a prize for the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November. As a result of these changes, there was whole year's gap when a wealth of fiction, published in1970, fell through the net. These books were simply never considered for the prize.

Now, 40 years on, a panel of three judges - all of whom were born in or around 1970 - has been appointed to select a shortlist of six novels from those books. They are journalist and critic, Rachel Cooke, ITN newsreader, Katie Derham and poet and novelist, Tobias Hill.

Their shortlist will be chosen from a longlist of 22 books which would have been eligible and are still in print and generally available today. They are as follows:

- Brian Aldiss, The Hand Reared Boy

- Paul Bailey, Trespasses

- H.E.Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy

- Nina Bawden, The Birds On The Trees

- Melvyn Bragg, A Place In England

- Christy Brown, Down All The Days

- Len Deighton, Bomber

- J.G.Farrell, Troubles

- Elaine Feinstein, The Circle

- Shirley Hazzard, The Bay Of Noon

- Reginald Hill, A Clubbable Woman

- Susan Hill, I'm The King Of The Castle

- Francis King, A Domestic Animal

- David Lodge, Out Of The Shelter

- Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

- Shiva Naipaul, Fireflies

- Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander

- Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven

- Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised

- Muriel Spark, The Driver's Seat

- Patrick White, The Vivisector

The list includes many distinguished writers whose books have stood the test of time including J.G. Farrell, whose The Siege of Krishnapur won the prize in 1973; Iris Murdoch, whose The Sea, The Sea won in 1978 and whose novels were shortlisted in four other years; David Lodge, who was shortlisted in 1984 and 1988 and chaired the prize in 1989; Muriel Spark, who was shortlisted in 1969 for her novel The Public Image and in 1981 for Loitering with Intent; Nina Bawden whose Circles of Deceit was shortlisted in 1987 and Susan Hill, whose The Bird of Night was shortlisted in 1972 and who judged the 1975 prize.

The Lost Man Booker Prize is the brainchild of Peter Straus, honorary archivist to the Booker Prize Foundation. He comments, "I noticed that when Robertson Davies's Fifth Business was first published it carried encomiums from Saul Bellow and John Fowles both of whom judged the 1971 Booker Prize. However judges for 1971 said it had not been considered or submitted. This led to an investigation which concluded that a year had been excluded. I am delighted that, even in a Darwinian way, this year, with so many extraordinary novels, can now be covered by the Man Booker Prize."

Ion Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes comments: ‘Our longlist demonstrates that 1970 was a remarkable year for fiction written in English. Recognition for these novels and the eventual winner is long overdue.'

The shortlist will be announced in March but, as with the Best of the Booker in 2008, the international reading public will decide the winner by voting via the Man Booker Prize website. The overall winner will be announced in May.

This is the third time that a celebratory award has been created for the prize. The first was the Booker of Bookers in 1993 - the 25th anniversary, and then in 2008 with the Best of the Booker to mark the 40th anniversary. Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children won both awards.

The winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize will receive a designer bound copy of their novel.


Since announcing the longlist of the Lost Man Booker Prize, two novels have been found to be ineligible by virtue of not being published in Britain in 1970. The Fire-Dwellers by Margaret Laurence was actually published in 1969 and Joe Orton's Head to Toe, although originally announced for 1970 was in fact published in January 1971. However, one additional title from 1970 is being added to the longlist, Paul Bailey's Trespasses, which is being reissued by Bloomsbury. The shortlist of six books will be announced at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on 25 March, and the winner in May.

For further information about the prize please visit or follow us on Twitter at

For press enquiries please contact:

Lucy Chavasse and Jane Acton at Colman Getty

Email: /

Tel: 020 7631 2666

Out of hours contacts: 07876 528902 / 07971 661 576

The Judges

Rachel Cooke is a writer and columnist at The Observer. In 2006, she was named Interviewer of the Year at the British Press Awards and Feature Writer of the Year at the What the Papers Say Awards. She is the New Statesman television critic.

Katie Derham presents ITV News at 1.30 and is co-presenter of ITV's London Tonight. A former BBC journalist, she has also presented the ITV Classical Brits and still presents Radio 4's Traveller's Tree. In 2004 she was a judge for the Whitbread Book Awards, (now the Costa). She is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and of the Proms.

Tobias Hill is the author of four novels and four collections of poetry, as well as one collection of short stories and one book for children, The Lion Who Ate Everything.

Notes to Editors:

• Bernice Rubens was awarded the second Booker Prize in 1970 for The Elected Member at a ceremony that April. In 1971 the ceremony moved to November when VS Naipaul won the prize for In a Free State. For that year, novels published by between January 1 and November 15, 1971, were eligible.

• Books published in 1970 are eligible for The Lost Man Booker.

• Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate) won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, becoming the fastest-selling winner, with over 220,000 copies sold in the UK by Christmas.

• 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: 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 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; Peter Kemp, fiction editor, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers.

• 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; and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is a Vice President.

• The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc. 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 $42.4 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 £5 billion. Man Group is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index.

Man Group supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. In the year to March 2OO9 the Man Group plc Charitable Trust gave almost 1O% of its charitable budget to charities concerned with improving literacy. The Trust continues to support the ‘Every Child a Reader' reading recovery programme with a donation of £1m spread over three years from 2OO6. A sizeable donation was also made to Dyslexia Action, with the Medical Foundation for the care of victims of torture ‘Write to Life' project, Bookaid International, Volunteer Reading Help, The Shannon Trust and St. Petrock's (Exeter) receiving smaller donations. The Trust also supports the RNIB Talking Books Service, enabling the production and distribution of Talking Book formats of the shortlisted titles of the Man Booker Prize.

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.

• The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides.