British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie, a winner of the Man Booker Prize in 1981 for “Midnight’s Children,” is back in contention for the foundation’s special one-off award: its ‘Golden Man Booker Prize’ to mark the literary awards’ 50th anniversary.
Along with Rushdie, four other Indian-origin authors are in the run for this award which will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public: V.S. Naipaul for “In a Free State” (1971); Arundhati Roy for “The God of Small Things” (1997); Indian American Kiran Desai for “The Inheritance of Loss” (2006); and Aravind Adiga for “The White Tiger” (2008).
Rushdie is being considered an early front-runner for the prize. In 2008, “Midnight’s Children” picked up the second Booker Prize at the awards’ 40th anniversary. And before that the novel picked up the Booker of Bookers for the award’s 25th anniversary.
Since it was first awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize has become the leading prize for quality fiction in English, with the winning books setting a benchmark against which other novels are judged.
The Golden Man Booker will put all 51 winners – which are all still in print – back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.
Five judges have been appointed to read the winning novels from each decade of the prize: writer and editor Robert McCrum (‘70s), poet Lemn Sissay MBE (‘80s), novelist Kamila Shamsie (‘90s), broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (‘00s), and poet Hollie McNish (2010s).
Each judge, according to the foundation, will choose what, in his or her opinion, is the best winner from that particular decade, and will champion that book against the other judges’ selections. The judges’ ‘Golden Five’ shortlist will be announced at the Hay Festival May 26. The five books will then be put to a month-long public vote from May 26 to June 25 on the Man Booker Prize website to decide the overall winner, announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival July 8.