The Booker Prize

The Booker Prize is awarded annually to the author of the best contemporary fiction book in the United Kingdom. It is sponsored by Booker plc, a food service company.
Award Year Authors(s) Title
2011 Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about until his oldest friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he'd left all of this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider various things, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and his place in the world.
2010 Howard Jacobson The Finkler Question Despite living opposite lives, old school pals Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler continue to stay in contact with each other as well as their old teacher, Libor Sevcik. One night, the trio gets together to relive the good times. But when the night comes to a shocking close for Julian, he begins to see things very differently.
2009 Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall In 1520s England, the Tudor Dynasty is threatening to unravel. King Henry VIII has yet to produce a male heir in twenty-year-marriage to his first wife. However, his pursuit to annul his marriage and court his wife's lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn, threatens the stability of all of England and sets forth a chain of events that alters the course of history.
2008 Aravid Adiga The White Tiger Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life -- having nothing but his own wits to help him along.
2007 Anne Enright The Gathering The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him - something that happened in their grandmother's house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester.
2006 Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss In the northeastern Himalayas a rising insurgency in Nepal challenges the old way of life--and opens up a grasping world of conflicting desires.
2005 John Banville The Sea The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child - a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.
2004 Alan Hollinghurst The Line of Beauty In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: conservative Member of Parliament Gerald, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their two children, Toby-whom Nick had idolized at Oxford-and Catherine, highly critical of her family's assumptions and ambitions. As the boom years of the eighties unfold, Nick, an innocent in the world of politics and money, finds his life altered by the rising fortunes of this glamorous family.
2003 DBC Pierre Vernon God Little In the town jail of Martirio, Texas--under the terrifying care of the dynastic Gurie family, and wearing only his New Jack trainers and underpants--15-year-old Vernon Little is in trouble. His friend, the mysterious Jesus, has just blown away 16 of his classmates before turning the gun on himself.
2002 Yann Martel Life of Pi This brilliant fabulist novel combines the delight of Kipling's "Just So Stories" with the metaphysical adventure of "Jonah and the Whale, " as Pi, the son of a zookeeper, is marooned aboard a lifeboat with a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan, and a tiger.
2001 Peter Carey True History of the Kelly Gang Speaking from the grave, out of 19th century Australia rides a hero of his people--Ned Kelly--a mythic outlaw whose life embodies tragedy, perseverance, and freedom. Executed more than a century ago, he resonates still as that country's most potent legend.
2000 Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin Containing a novel within a novel, "The Blind Assassin" is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms of the 1930s and 1940s, it unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.
1999 J.M. Coetzee Disgrace Set in post-apartheid Cape Town, Professor David Laurie attempts to relate to his daughter, Lucy, and to a society with new racial complexities. But that is disrupted by an afternoon of violence that changes him and his daughter in ways he could never have foreseen.
1998 Ian McEwan Amsterdam On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a crematorium to pay their last respects to the woman who had been a lover to both of them. In the days that follow the funeral, Clive and Vernon will make a pact that will have consequences that neither man could have foreseen.
1997 Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things A richly textured first book about the tragic decline of one family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love.
1996 Graham Swift Last Orders A subtle yet piercing story about the ways in which friendship and love are shaped by the past and by fate. At its center is a group of men, friends since the Second World War, whose lives revolve around work, family, the racetrack, and their favorite pub. When one of the group dies, the survivors are compelled to take stock.
1995 Pat Barker The Ghost Road The culmination of Barker's WWI trilogy that began with Regeneration and The Eye in the Door. The trilogy follows William Rivers, a psychologist who pioneered the treatment of shell shock, and some of his patients, who include such real-life figures as poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, as well as the fictional Lieutenant Billy Prior, a bisexual whose life as an officer is complicated by his working-class origins.
1994 James Kelman How Late It Was, How Late A stream of consciousness novel about Sammy, an ex-convict and shoplifter. The story is told in a Glasgow working class dialect.
1993 Roddy Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha-Ha-Ha Paddy Clarke is ten years old. He lives with his ma and da, his younger brother Sinbad, and two baby sisters in the Dublin working-class neighborhood of Barrytown. Paddy spends his days with his friends Kevin, Aiden, and Liam, roaming local construction sites, writing their names in wet cement, conducting Viking funerals for dead rats, and torturing Sinbad.
1992 Michael Ondaatje The English Patient With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.
1991 Ben Okri The Famished Road The narrator, Azaro, is a spirit child who maintains his ties to the supernatural world. Possessed by "boiling hallucinations, '' he can see the invisible, grotesque demons and witches who prey on his family and neighbors in an African ghetto community.
1990 A.S. Byatt Possession As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire-- from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.
1989 Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler, who, at the end of his career in postwar England, reviews his life and secretly questions the "greatness" of the nobleman he served.
1988 Peter Carey Oscar and Lucinda A romance of the kind that could only take place in 19th-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles with a system provided by God become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks to better her sex life. The two of them, Oscar and Lucinda, end up in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.
1987 Penelope Lively Moon Tiger Claudia Hampton, an unconventional historian and former war correspondent lies in a hospital bed dying of cancer. Forced inward, Claudia moves randomly across time and place to reconstruct the strata of her life. But "most lives have their core, their kernel, the vital centre''; Claudia's is the brief, tragic encounter she had in Egypt during the war with Tom Southern, a British tank officer on leave from battle.
1986 Kingsley Amis The Old Devils
1985 Keri Hulme The Bone People A mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge.
1984 Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac Edith Hope writes romance novels under a psudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to resore her to her senses. But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love's casualties and exiles.
1983 J.M. Coetzee Life and Times of Michael K. Set during a fictional civil war in South Africa, this book is symbolic that apartheid created in the lives of those so brutally affected by its implementation.
1982 Thomas Keneally Schlinder's List The compelling story of Oskar Schindle, a Nazi Party member, whose heroic actions during WWII saved the lives of countless Jews.
1981 Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children A fascinating family saga about the birth and maturity of a land and its people - a brilliant incarnation of the human comedy.
1980 William Golding Rites of Passage (Included in The Ends of the Earth) The journal of aristocratic Edmund Talbot of his journey from England to Australia in the 19th century.
1979 Penelope Fitzgerald Offshore On the Battersea Reach of the Thames, a mixed bag of eccentrics lives in houseboats. Belonging to neither land nor sea, they belong to one another. How each of their lives complicates the others is the stuff of this perfect little novel.
1978 Iris Murdoch The Sea, The Sea Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
1977 Paul Scott Staying On It is 1972, long after the British have left the hills of Pankot. Hanging on are Colonel Tusher Smalley, faced with a dwindling supply of rupees and loss of his way of life. With him is his nostalgic wife Lucy, living on memories, Hollywood movies and her will to keep her husband alive. Pitted against them is Mrs. Bhoolabhoy, their landlady, who wages a bitter domestic war against her tenants. In the end this conflict gives Tusher and Lucy something to rally around -- something that strengthens their love for for each other.
1976 David Storey Saville In the 1940s, a coal miner's son goes to grammar school on a scholarship, escaping the poverty of his upbringing. Upon graduation, he finds himself estranged from his family and community and struggles to find meaning in his life.
1975 Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Heat and Dust Set in colonial India during the 1920s, Heat and Dust tells the story of Olivia, a beautiful woman suffocated by the propriety and social constraints of her position as the wife of an important English civil servant. Longing for passion and independence, Olivia is drawn into the spell of the Nawab, a minor Indian prince deeply involved in gang raids and criminal plots.
1974 Nadine Gordimer The Conservationist A fascinating portrait of a "conservationist" left only with the possibility of self-preservation, a subtle and detailed study of the forces and relationships that seethe in South Africa today.
1974 Stanley Middleton Holiday
1973 J.G. Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur Novel about the siege of a fictional Indian town during the Rebellion of 1857 against British rule.
1972 John Berger G
1971 V.S. Naipaul In a Free State Three short stories narrated by a man on a ferry to Egypt, ending with him visiting Egypt as a tourist many years later. Contains compelling fictional portraits of people seeking liberation.
1970 Bernice Rubens The Elected Member The story of a 41 year old man's downward spiral into drug addiction, paranoia, and delusion.
1969 P.H. Newby Something to Answer For