Michael Portillo to chair 2008 Man Booker judges


18 December 2007

Eclectic line-up of judges announced today

Chair and judges announced for Man Booker 2008

An eclectic line-up of judges is announced today (Tuesday 18th December) for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Chaired by Michael Portillo, former MP and Cabinet Minister, the line-up consists of Alex Clark, literary journalist; Louise Doughty, novelist; James Heneage, founder of Ottakar’s bookshops and Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV and radio broadcaster.

For four decades the prize has been seen as the pinnacle of achievement in literary fiction. The award inspires fierce debate and controversy. It is one of the world’s most significant and prestigious literary prizes

Last year’s winner, The Gathering by Anne Enright, was described by the judges as “a powerful, uncomfortable and, at times, angry book. The Gathering is an unflinching look at a grieving family in tough and striking language.” It has since gone on to sell over 196,000 copies in the UK alone, topped the bestseller lists in Ireland and has now been sold to publishers for translation in 31 countries.

The longlist, ‘The Booker Dozen’ , 12 (or 13) titles under serious consideration for the prize will be announced in early August. The shortlist of six books will be announced in early September. The Man Booker Prize 2008 winner will be televised live on the BBC Ten O’Clock News at the Guildhall at an awards ceremony on 14 October 2008.

For up to date information and photographs of the judging panel please check this website or contact Eleanor Johnsey/Katy Macmillan Scott at Colman Getty on 020 7631 2666 or eleanor@colmangetty.co.uk

The Judges

Michael Portillo- Chair of Judges

Michael Portillo was a Member of Parliament for most of the period 1984-2005, and held three positions in the cabinet. Since leaving politics he has turned to writing and broadcasting. He has made a number of television documentaries, mainly for the BBC, on subjects as diverse as his own father, Richard Wagner, Queen Elizabeth I, Horatio Nelson and the hyacinth macaw. He appears weekly on This Week on BBC1 with fellow presenters Andrew Neil and Diane Abbott MP. Michael has written regularly for the Sunday Times on current affairs and for the New Statesman on theatre. He has been a judge for the Samuel Johnson/BBC4 and Whitbread book prizes.

Alex Clark

Alex Clark has been a literary critic for many years, writing for publications such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Times Literary Supplement. She currently writes for The Observer and is the Deputy Editor of Granta Magazine.

Louise Doughty

Louise Doughty is a novelist, playwright and critic. She is the author of five novels; Crazy Paving, Dance With Me, Honey-Dew, Fires In The Dark and Stone Cradle, and one work of non-fiction A Novel in a Year. She has also written five plays for radio. She has worked widely as a cultural commentator and broadcaster and is a highly experienced judge of literary awards, in particular those for new and emerging writers.

James Heneage

James Heneage is the founder of Ottakar’s Bookshop chain, which he built to 142 shops, employing 2500 people, at the time when it was sold to Waterstone’s in July 2006. James is now Chairman of The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, a Non-Executive Director of Mallett PLC and has been appointed a Director of The Prince’s Rainforests Trust which aims to find innovative solutions to the problem of global deforestation.

Hardeep Singh Kohli

Hardeep Singh Kohli is a writer, comedian, actor, presenter, director and cartographer. He is currently working as a regular presenter/contributor for BBC TV and Radio shows including Newsnight Review and has his own column in the Scotland on Sunday and is a guest columnist for The Guardian.

Notes to Editors

2008 sees the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize (now the Man Booker Prize).To mark the occasion, a range of events and initiatives are planned throughout the year including a campaign to directly involve the reading public. More information is available here on the Man Booker website.

The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) won the Man Booker Prize 2007

Every year publishers are allowed to submit two books for the Man Booker Prize. Every former Booker Prize winner and any author who has appeared on the shortlist in the last ten years is also eligible

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.

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 (Administrator, 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; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Erica Wagner, literary editor, The Times

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; former Man Booker Prize administrator, Martyn Goff CBE; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; writer, Baroness Neuberger DBE; MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce

Man Group plc is a leading global provider of alternative investment products and solutions for private and institutional investors worldwide, designed to deliver absolute returns with low correlation to equity and bond market benchmarks. Man has a 20-year track record in this field supported by strong product development and structuring skills, and an extensive investor service and global distribution network. The Group employs 1,600 people in 13 countries, with key centres in London and Pfäffikon (Switzerland), and offices in Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Montevideo, Nassau, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EMG) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Further information on the Man Group can be found at www.mangroupplc.com and www.maninvestments.com

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, the cataloguing process will be completed in 2008

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