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The Narrow Road to the Deep North wins the 2014 Man Booker Prize

The Narrow Road to the Deep North wins the 2014 Man Booker Prize

Press Release

Strictly embargoed until 10pm, Tuesday 14 October 2014


The Narrow Road to the Deep North


the 2014 Man Booker Prize


  • Australian author Richard Flanagan wins prestigious prize with PoW novel


Richard Flanagan is tonight, Tuesday 14 October, announced as the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, published by Chatto & Windus.


The Tasmanian-born author is the third Australian to win the coveted prize which, for the first time in its 46-year history, is now expanded to include entries from writers of all nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK. He joins an impressive literary canon of former winners including fellow Australians Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) and Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001).


The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the sixth novel from Richard Flanagan, who is considered by many to be one of Australia’s finest novelists. It centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. The Financial Times calls it ‘elegantly wrought, measured and without an ounce of melodrama… nothing short of a masterpiece.’


Named after a famous Japanese book by the haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is described by the 2014 judges as ‘a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it’. Questioning the meaning of heroism, the book explores what motivates acts of extreme cruelty and shows that perpetrators may be as much victims as those they abuse. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.


Richard Flanagan was announced as the 2014 winner by AC Grayling, Chair of judges, at an awards dinner at London’s Guildhall, which was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel. Flanagan was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group. The investment management firm has sponsored the prize since 2002.


AC Grayling comments: ‘The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.


‘This is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write.’


In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, Flanagan also receives a designer bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted.


On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author can expect international recognition, not to mention a dramatic increase in book sales. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, have exceeded a million copies in their UK editions, published by Fourth Estate. Her novels have subsequently been adapted for stage and screen, with the highly acclaimed theatre productions of both novels arriving on Broadway in April 2015. Granta, publisher of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 winner, The Luminaries, has sold 300,000 copies of the book in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.


AC Grayling, philosopher and author, was joined on the 2014 panel of judges by: Jonathan Bate, Oxford Professor of English Literature and biographer; Sarah Churchwell, UEA’s Professor of American Literature; Daniel Glaser, neuroscientist and cultural commentator; Alastair Niven, former Director of Literature at the British Council and at the Arts Council, and Erica Wagner, former literary editor and writer.


Richard Flanagan will take part in his first public event as winner of the prize at the Apple Store, Regent Street, on Thursday 16 October:


To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, learn more about its history and share your thoughts online, visit:                                                                                                       




For all press enquiries please contact:

Katy MacMillan-Scott or Ellie Hughes at Four Colman Getty

020 3697 4253/ 07786 567887 (Katy)

020 3697 4256/ 07990 632041 (Ellie)









The Winner


The Narrow Road to the Deep North

By Richard Flanagan

Published by Chatto & Windus (£16.99)


The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a love story unfolding over half a century between a doctor and his uncle’s wife. Taking its title from one of the most famous books in Japanese literature, written by the great haiku poet Basho, Flanagan’s novel has as its heart one of the most infamous episodes of Japanese history, the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.


Born in Tasmania in July 1961, Richard Flanagan is one of Australia’s leading novelists. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize), The Unknown Terrorist and Wanting have received numerous honours and been published in 26 countries. His father, who died the day Flanagan finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway. He lives in Tasmania.



Notes to Editors


  • Richard Flanagan is available for interview. Please contact Lisa Gooding at Chatto & Windus

Tel: 0207 840 8677, email:


  • The winner of the Man Booker Prize was chosen from 154 entries, including nine called in by the judges.  The 2014 shortlisted titles were:


Author                                              Title (Imprint)

Joshua Ferris (US)                            To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian)        The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (US)                      We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves     (Serpent's Tail)

Howard Jacobson (British)               J (Jonathan Cape)

Neel Mukherjee (British)                 The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

Ali Smith (British)                             How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)


  • The special designer bound edition of the book was created by Sue Doggett, a Fellow of the UK’s principal bookbinding society, the Designer Bookbinders

  • UK publishers may submit novels written in the English language and published in the UK between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:


  • 1 submission - publishers with no longlistings

  • 2 submissions - publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s)

  • 3 submissions - publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings

  • 4 submissions - publishers with 5 or more longlistings


This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change year on year. Any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize remains eligible


  • In addition, the judges ‘call in’ a number of novels each year: in addition to their main submission, a publisher may submit a list of up to five titles for consideration, accompanied by a justification from the editor. The judges are required to call in no fewer than eight and no more than 12 of these titles. The judges are also permitted to call in other books published within the requisite dates, even if the book has not been submitted through any other route


  • Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with The Luminaries (Granta). To date, Granta have sold 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide


  • The prize was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by the Man Group since 2002. The long-term future of the prize was secured in 2011 with the announcement of a renewed 10 year sponsorship from the Man Group. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group plc’s sponsorship began and since 2002 it has been called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It would be greatly appreciated if you could ensure that your editorial is factually correct by referring to the prize’s full title at least once, if not in the headline, then in your next subsequent mention.  For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website:


  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world.   Its members are:


Ion Trewin- Chair, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation; Richard Cable- publisher, Random House; Mark Chilton- Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Basil Comely - BBC TV; James Daunt-  Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas- Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson - writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns- Non-executive Chairman, Granta; Peter Kemp- Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton- publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco- literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Emmanuel Roman- Chief Executive, Man; Eve Smith- Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; 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; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE - biographer; Sir Ronald Harwood CBE- playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund; Baroness Kennedy QC- former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Sir Andrew Motion - Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate; James Naughtie- broadcaster; Christopher Pearce - former Finance Director of Rentokil plc. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents


  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002. A leading investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support.


Man Group is an investment management business with a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products across equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager solutions. At 30 June 2014, Man managed $ 57.7 billion. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £2.1 billion. 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 Foundation has a longstanding partnership with the RNIB, and the Foundation funds the production by RNIB of the shortlist in formats for the visually impaired including braille, giant print and Talking Books


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



Four Colman Getty

October 2014