The prize was established in 1968 by the company Booker-McConnell (currently known as Booker Group). The first awards ceremony was held in 1969. In 2002, the administration of the prize was transferred to the independent Booker Prize Foundation. That same year, the investment company Man Group became the title sponsor. The new sponsor retained “Booker” as part of the title, so the current official title of the prize is the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
The Booker Prize was originally awarded for novels written in the English language by Commonwealth, Irish and Zimbabwean citizens. In 2013, the eligibility to receive the prize was widened to any English language novel regardless of the author’s citizenship. Authors are considered so long as their work is originally written in English and published in the UK. Works published in English outside the UK or generally available in English translation are eligible for the Man Booker International Prize.
The list of nominees is made up by an advisory committee, which includes two publishers, a writer, a bookseller, a literary agent, a librarian, and a chairperson appointed by the Booker Prize Foundation. The committee is also responsible for selecting the judging panel that determines the winner.
The membership of the jury changes each year, although some judges have been selected more than once. But such occasions are rare. The Booker Prize judges are selected from amongst distinguished writers, literary critics, academics and public figures. The longlist is announced in July or August, the shortlist is announced in September, and the awards ceremony takes place in Guildhall in October.
The Man Booker Prize is considered one of the most prestigious literary awards. Four Booker laureates (William Golding, Nadine Gordimer, V. S. Naipaul and J. M. Coetzee) were also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Three authors (J. M. Coetzee, Peter Carey and Hilary Mantel) received the award twice. Mantel is the only author to receive the award for two installments of the same series (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies).