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The Sense of an Ending wins the Man Booker Prize 2011

The Sense of an Ending wins the Man Booker Prize 2011

Julian Barnes is Man Booker Prize 2011 winner

Julian Barnes is tonight (Tuesday 18 October) named the winner of this year’s £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Sense of an Ending, published by Jonathan Cape.

London-based Barnes has been the bookies’ favourite to win since the shortlist announcement on 6 September. The source of the description of the prize as ‘posh bingo’, Barnes has been shortlisted three times in the past for Arthur and George (2005), EnglandEngland (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984).

Barnes’ first novel for six years, The Sense of an Ending went straight into the bestseller list on publication.  It is the story of a seemingly ordinary man who, when revisiting his past in later life, discovers that the memories he holds are less than perfect.  Laced with trademark precision, dexterity and insight, this is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers. At the time of the shortlist announcement, 2011 judge Gaby Wood commented: ‘that the tragedy trapped in this mundane life should be so moving, and so keenly felt by the character that he can only confront it half-blindly and in fragments, is the mark of a truly masterful novel.’

The Sense of an Ending is the eighth Man Booker Prize winner to be published by Jonathan Cape, a Random House imprint. 

Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 judges, made the announcement at the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, broadcast by the BBC.  Jon Aisbitt, Chairman of Man, presented Julian Barnes with a cheque for £50,000.

She comments: ‘Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading.’

Over and above his prize of £50,000, Julian Barnes can expect to bring The Sense of an Ending to wider audiences around the world who follow the winners of the Man Booker Prize. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book. 

The judging panel for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Dame Stella Rimington (Chair), author and former Director-General M15; writer and journalist, Matthew d’Ancona; author, Susan Hill; author and politician, Chris Mullin and Head of Books at the Daily Telegraph, Gaby Wood. 

Sales of the books shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize have been the highest selling since records began.  Sales of the novels are up 127% year-on-year and up 105% on the previous record in 2009.

The Winner:
The Sense of an Ending

Published by Jonathan Cape (£12.99)

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.  Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

Julian Barnes is the author of ten previous novels, three books of short stories and three collections of journalism. Now 65, his work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2004 and the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2011 for his lifetime achievement in literature. Julian Barnes has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times previously, for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot (1984). He lives in London.

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Notes to Editors:

  • The winner of the Man Booker Prize was chosen from 138 entries, seven of which were called in by the judges.  The 2011 shortlisted titles were:


Author                         Title (publisher)

Julian Barnes                The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)

Carol Birch                   Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)

Patrick deWitt             The Sisters Brothers (Granta)

Esi Edugyan                 Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail)

Stephen Kelman          Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)

A.D. Miller                    Snowdrops (Atlantic)


Previous winning titles for Random House’s Jonathan Cape imprint include: The Gathering (Anne Enright, 2007); Amsterdam (Ian McEwan, 1998); The Famished Road (Ben Okri, 1991); Hotel du Lac (Anita Brookner, 1984); Midnight’s Children (Salmon Rushdie, 1981); Saville (David Storey, 1976) and The Conservationist (Nadine Gordimer, 1974).

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury) won the Man Booker Prize in 2010.  To date, the book has sold just under 600,000 copies in the English language.

Each year UK publishers may submit two full-length novels written by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe and published between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011.  In addition, any title by an author who has previously won or been shortlisted for the Booker or Man Booker Prize may be submitted.

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

For all press enquiries please contact:

Amy Barder or Katy MacMillan-Scott at Colman Getty

Tel: 020 7631 2666

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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 Prize Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man; Basil Comely, BBC TV; James Daunt,  Managing Director of Waterstone’s; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns, literary agent; Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer, 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, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning 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 and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents.   

· The Man Booker Prize app is available to download, from the App Store, to the Apple iPhone or iPod touch. The free app is regularly updated with all information about the prize and holds content from the full Man Booker Prize archive, spanning over 40 years.

· The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and has been sponsored by Man, since 2002.

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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.

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