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Master Georgie voted Man Booker Best of Beryl

Master Georgie voted Man Booker Best of Beryl

Beryl Bainbridge's 1998 novel, Master Georgie, is today (Tuesday 19 April) announced the winner of a special prize created to honour the late, much-loved author - the Man Booker Best of Beryl.

Beryl Bainbridge was shortlisted five times for the Booker Prize - the most that any author has been shortlisted - but never actually won. Over a period of five weeks the public have been asked to vote for their favourite of Dame Beryl's shortlisted books: The Dressmaker (1973); The Bottle Factory Outing (1974); An Awfully Big Adventure(1990); Every Man for Himself (1996) and Master Georgie (1998) all of which are now published in paperback by Abacus.

The voting, conducted via the Man Booker website, was very close, with Master Georgie winning by a few votes, just pipping Every Man For Himself to the post.

The winning book was announced by Ion Trewin, Literary Director of the Booker Foundation (and former judge of the prize), at a party in Soho to celebrate the author's life. The prize - a one-off, designer-bound copy of the book - was accepted by Beryl's daughter Jojo Davies and grandson Charlie Russell on behalf of the family. The evening included tributes from Sir Ronald Harwood; AN Wilson; her long-standing agent, Andrew Hewson and Publisher at Little, Brown, Richard Beswick.

Ion Trewin comments, "Beryl was a very gracious non-winner and no Man Booker dinner was complete without her. She may have been known as the eternal Booker Bridesmaid, but we are delighted to be able finally to crown Master Georgie a Booker Bride."

Master Georgie was first published in 1998 by Duckworth, and was shortlisted in the year that Ian McEwan's novel Amsterdam won the Booker Prize. The other shortlisted books were Julian Barnes' England England, Patrick McCabe's Breakfast on Pluto, Martin Booth's The Industry of Souls and Magnus Mills' The Restraint of Beasts.

Master Georgie is set during the Crimean War and follows the adventures of George Hardy, a surgeon and photographer who leaves the cold squalor of Victorian Liverpool for the heat and glitter of the Bosphorus, to offer his services in the war. He is followed by Myrtle, his adoring adoptive sister, a lapsed geologist and a photographer's assistant and sometime fire-eater. The group is driven onwards through a rising tide of death and disease by a shared and mysterious guilt. Bainbridge exposes her enigmatic hero as tenderly and unsparingly as she reveals the filth and misery of war, combining an eye for beauty with a visceral understanding of mortality.

It has been described as ‘truly extraordinary, heartbreakingly good' (Sunday Telegraph) and The Times wrote, at the time of publication, ‘It is hard to think of anyone now writing who understands the human heart as Beryl Bainbridge does ... Master Georgie is brief, intense, and remains seared on the mind long after reading.' It won the WH Smith Literary Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Beryl Bainbridge was both an author and actress. She wrote seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television. Her novel Every Man for Himself was awarded the Whitbread Novel of the Year Prize, she won the Guardian Fiction Prize with The Bottle Factory Outing and the Whitbread Prize with Injury Time. The Bottle Factory Outing, Sweet William and The Dressmaker have all been adapted for film, as was An Awfully Big Adventure, which starred Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. Her final novel, The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress, will be published by Little, Brown in June. Beryl Bainbridge died in July last year.

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Notes to Editors:

• The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man 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, Booker Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary, Booker Ltd; Jon Aisbitt, Chairman, Man, Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Dominic Myers, Managing Director of Waterstone's; 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, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning; 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. 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. Following the acquisition of GLG Partners, Man manages about $69bn.

The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index with a market capitalisation of around £4.5 billion.

Man is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index. Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes.

Man supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. In the year to March 2010 the Man Charitable Trust continued to fund innovative projects for children and adults that improve literacy. Donations were made to support the "Every Child a Reader" reading recovery programme, Dyslexia Action, The Mayor's Fund for London and National Literacy Trust. 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.