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2016 Judges announced

2016 Judges announced

2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction:

Judges announced | #FinestFiction


The judges of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction are announced today, Monday 14 December. 


The panel of five is chaired by Amanda Foreman, biographer, historian and presenter of the highly acclaimed recent BBC series, The Ascent of Woman. Foreman judged the prize in 2012, under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Stothard. Her four fellow judges are a critic, a novelist, a poet and an actor. 


The 2016 panel is: Amanda Foreman (Chair), award-winning historian and internationally bestselling author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Jon Day, Critic and Lecturer in English at King's College London, specialising in modernist fiction; Abdulrazak Gurnah, Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist and Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent; David Harsent, poet and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton, winner of 2014 T.S. Eliot prize; Olivia Williams, actor, currently starring in a National Theatre’s production of Harley Granville-Barker's Waste.


Amanda Foreman comments on behalf of the panel: ‘I am honoured to be chairing such a distinguished panel of Man Booker judges. We have an incredibly intense and stimulating time ahead of us. For nearly fifty years the Prize has played a special role in its contribution to modern culture. It is also unique in the demands it places on the judges. But rising to the challenge is part of what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If anybody needs to speak to me, I'll be in my study, reading.’

2016 is the 48th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969. The 2016 judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.


The 2015 prize was won by Marlon James, the first Jamaican winner. On winning, James commented: ‘I just met Ben Okri and it just reminded me of how much my literary sensibilities were shaped by the Man Booker Prize.’


A Brief History of Seven Killings went straight to number one on iTunes and number three in the Amazon charts, selling 12,466 physical books in the week following the announcement, a 933% increase on the previous week. Independent publisher Oneworld issued an immediate reprint of 182,500 copies and last month released a 25,000 print run of a special hardback edition of the book. To date, over 260,000 print copies of the book have been sold internationally, and foreign language rights have been sold to 16 markets.


The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced on 27 July 2016 and the shortlist of six books on 13 September 2016. The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 25 October 2016 at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.


The judges will read submissions both in hard copy and using e-readers.


The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers. 


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


For all press enquiries please contact:

Four Colman Getty on +44(0)20 3697 4200



The Man Booker Prize 2016 Judges________________________________________

Dr. Amanda Foreman (Chair): Award-winning historian, and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times and The Smithsonian Magazine. Her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, was an international bestseller, and won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Biography. It has been developed into a television documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench and the Oscar-winning film, The Duchess. Her second book, A World on Fire, was also a bestseller and won the Fletcher Pratt Award for Civil War History. It was a runner-up for five further awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was chosen by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2011. In 2015 Foreman wrote and presented The Ascent of Woman, a critically acclaimed documentary series for BBC2. Foreman divides her time between London and New York, where she founded House of SpeakEasy, a non-profit organisation that works with local communities to bring writers and audiences together in innovative ways.


Jon Day: Writer and academic born in London in 1984. He was educated at St John's College, Oxford, and is now a lecturer in English and the Medical Humanities at King's College London. At King’s he teaches courses on modernist fiction and the philosophy of mind, literature and psychiatry, and the twentieth century city. His essays and reviews have appeared in the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, n+1, and the Guardian. He writes about art for Apollo, and is a regular fiction critic for the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and a contributing editor of the Junket. His book, Cyclogeography, a philosophical memoir about the three years he spent as a London bicycle courier, was published by Notting Hill Editions earlier this year. He is currently writing a book about fishing.


Abdulrazak Gurnah: Novelist, and Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent. He was born in Zanzibar and now lives in Canterbury, Kent. His novel, Paradise,was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 1994, and By the Sea was longlisted in 2001. He has edited two volumes of Essays on African Writing, was 2003 chair of judges of The Caine Prize for African Writing, and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie. His last novel was The Last Gift (2011).


David Harsent: Poet and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton. David won the Forward Prize for Legion and the Griffin International Poetry Prize for Night. Fire Songs, the most recent of his eleven volumes of poetry, won the T.S. Eliot Prize in January. He has collaborated with composers – most often with Harrison Birtwistle – on operas and song cycles which have been performed at venues including the Royal Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Writing under a pseudonym, he has published ten thrillers.


Olivia Williams: Actor. After reading English at Cambridge, Olivia went on to work in both theatre and film with, amongst others, the National Theatre, the RSC, Cheek by Jowl and the Donmar Warehouse, and with directors such as Wes Anderson, David Cronenberg, David Hare, Joss Whedon, Joe Wright and Trevor Nunn. In 2010, she won both the London and New York Critics’ Circle Awards for her performance in Roman Polanski's film of the Robert Harris novel The Ghost. She is currently appearing in the National Theatre production of Harley Granville-Barker's once-scandalous Edwardian play Waste, directed by Roger Michell, and the US TV show Manhattan, which documents the invention of the first atomic weapon. She has written for The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and BBC Radio 4.


Notes to Editors

Photographs of the 2016 panel are available from Four Colman Getty


UK publishers may submit novels written in the English language and published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:


- Publishers with no longlistings – 1 submission 

- Publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s) – 2 submissions 

- Publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings – 3 submissions 

- Publishers with 5 or more longlistings – 4 submissions 


This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change from year to year. New work by any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize is automatically 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


Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld). Since the winner announcement, over 260,000 print copies of the book have been sold internationally


The prize was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by 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 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 trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC – Chair, former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Ben Okri – writer; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Sir Ronald Harwood and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents of the Foundation. Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation  


Gaby Wood is Literary Director of the Foundation. She succeeds Ion Trewin, who died in April 2015


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: 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 – Author & Literary Agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Books and Arts Editor, The Economist and Man Booker International Prize Administrator; Rosanna Konarzewski – Man Group plc; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation and Robert Topping – Topping & Company Booksellers


Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, and a leader in liquid investment strategies. Across its four investment managers (Man AHL, Man FRM, Man GLG and Man Numeric), Man Group has diverse hedge fund strategies and long only products spanning equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets and multi-manager solutions. At 30 September 2015, Man Group’s funds under management were $76.8 billion. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Man Group supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. 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 RNIB. The Foundation funds the production of the shortlisted titles in braille, giant print and audio, which the sight loss charity produce by the date the winner is announced. The accessible versions are then made available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss face a significantly limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them – and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB Communications Team on 0207 391 2223 or  


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


December 2015