Wednesday 18 December 2013

2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction: Judges announced

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

2014 is the first year of the new rules, which will see the prize opened up to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English, for novels published in the UK by an established imprint between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014. The expanded prize will recognise, celebrate and embrace authors of literary fiction writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai.

For this inaugural year, the trustees have decided that the judging panel will increase from five to six. The 2014 judges bring with them a wide reading experience and knowledge of international literature. In what will be an exciting new era for the prize, the panel consists of three new judges and three who have previously judged the prize - Alastair Niven in 1994, Erica Wagner in 2002 and AC Grayling in 2003.

The judges’ mission remains the same as in previous years: to select the finest fiction of the year. Following her win in October 2013, Eleanor Catton said of the expansion of the prize: ‘I think it’s a really great thing that finally we’ve got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn’t make a distinction towards writers who are writing from a particular country. If you’re writing in the English language, you’re considered alongside everybody else.’

AC Grayling comments on behalf of the judging panel: 'The Man Booker prize has become an even bigger entity this year, with all fiction in English published worldwide between October 2013 and October 2014 now joining the competition. The challenge for my fellow judges and me is an exciting one, and I'm delighted to have such an outstanding group of people to work with in this highly significant year for the prize. We welcome that challenge, and are now launching ourselves into it with relish.'

The judges will read submissions both in hard copy and using iPad Airs, donated by Apple.

The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in late July 2014 and the shortlist of six books in early September 2014. The winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 14 October 2014, at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.

2014 is the 46th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969. The 2013 winner, Eleanor Catton, made history as the youngest author to win the prize, at 28, with her novel The Luminaries and has since gone on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and was recently honoured as Woman of the Year by New Zealand’s M2 Magazine. The Luminaries has already been reprinted seven times in the UK alone.

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