Booker Prize Project

About this Project

The Man Booker Prize “promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.”  It is awarded in Autumn after an announcement of first the longlisted titles and then the six shortlisted titles. I’m attempting to read all the winners since the award’s inception — and where I can, some of the longlisted and shortlisted books — up to and including 2015.

Progress so far:

Winning novels read to date: 45 of 50 titles plus four I could not finish. Which means I have just 1 more to go before the project is completed. Books read are all Favourite top 3 Booker winners copymarked **.  This includes books read before this challenge began in February 2012. Click the name of the book to read my review.

My top 3 winners so far are listed here.

Winners 21st century

2015A History of Seven Killings (Marlon James) ** Could not finish January 2019
2014 – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan) **Read April 2016
2013 – The Luminaries – (Catton) ** – Read June 2014
2012 – Bring Up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel) ** Read 2014
2011 – The Sense of an Ending (Barnes) ** Read 2012
2010 – The Finkler Question (Howard Jacobson) ** Could not finish July 2017
2010-  Troubles  (J G Farrell) – the Lost Booker** Read 2013
2009 – Wolf Hall (Mantel) ** Read 2009
2008 – The White Tiger  (Adiga) ** Read 2012
2007 – The Gathering (Enright) ** Read May 2016
2006 – The Inheritance of Loss (Desai) ** Read March 2016
2005 – The Sea (Banville)** Read 2015
2004 – The Line of Beauty (Hollinghurst) Read September 2018
2003 – Vernon God Little (Pierre) ** Read Oct 2017
2002 – Life of Pi (Martel) ** Read April 2015
2001 – True History of the Kelly Gang (Carey) Read September 2017
– The Blind Assassin (Atwood) ** Read 2012

Winners 20th century 

1999 – Disgrace (Coetzee) ** Read 2014
1998 – Amsterdam: A Novel (Ian McEwan) ** Read 2000
1997 – The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy) ** Read April 2017
1996 – Last Orders (Graham Swift) ** Read July 2016
1995 – The Ghost Road (Pat Barker) **Read 2015
1994 – How Late It Was, How Late (Kelman)
1993 – Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Roddy Doyle) ** Read March 2018
1992 – The English Patient (Ondaatje) ** Read December 2015
1992 – Sacred Hunger (Unsworth) Read August 2017
1991 – The Famished Road (Ben Okri) Did Not Finish 2015
1990 – Possession: A Romance (A.S Byatt)** Re-Read Jan 2012
1989 – The Remains of the Day (Ishiguro) **Read 1990
1988 – Oscar and Lucinda (Peter Carey) ** Read February 2017
1987 – Moon Tiger (Penelope Lively)** Read Feb 2014
1986 – The Old Devils (Kingsley Amis) ** Read August 2016
1985 – The Bone People (Keri Hulme) ** Read 2014
1984 – Hotel Du Lac (Anita Brookner) ** Re-read July 2013
1983 – Life & Times of Michael K (Coetzee) ** Read July 2016
1982 – Schindler’s Ark (Keneally) ** Read 1982
1981 – Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie) ** Read 2013
1980 – Rites of Passage (Golding) ** Read 2016
1979 – Offshore (Penelope Fitzgerald)**. Read 2012 
1978 – The Sea, the Sea (Iris Murdoch) ** Read November 2015
1977 – Staying On  ** (Paul Scott) ** Read November 2015
1976  Saville (David Storey)** Read 2012
1975 – Heat and Dust (Jhabvala)** Read 2013
1974 – The Conservationist (Nadine Gordimer) ** Read Dec 2017
1974 – Holiday (Stanley Middleton) ** Read 2012
1973 – The Siege of Krishnapur: J.G Farrell ** Read 2012
1972 – G. : J Berger Could not finish May 2018
1971 – In A Free State (V. S Naipul)** Read 2012
1970 – The Elected Member (Bernice Rubens) ** Read 2012
1969 – Something to Answer For (P.H Newby) ** Read 2012

Longlisted/Shortlisted titles


The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner Read in 2018
Milkman by Anna Burns (the winning novel in 2018) read in 2018


Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor Read in 2017


The North Water by Ian McGuire Read in 2016
The Many (Wyl Menmuir) Read in 2016
Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Madeleine Thien) Read in 2016
All That Man Is (David Szalay) Read in 2016
My Name is Lucy Barton (Elizabeth Strout) Read in 2016
His Bloody Project  (Graeme Macrae Burnet) Read in 2016
The Schooldays of Jesus (J M Coetzee) Read in 2016

Did You Ever Have a Family (Bill Clegg) Read in 2015
A Little Life (Hanya Yanigahara) Read in 2015
The Fishermen (Chigozie Obiama) Read in 2015

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler) Read in 2014
History of the Rain (Niall Williams) Read in 2014
How to be Both (Ali Smith) Read in 2015
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee Read in 2014

Five Star Billionare (Tash Aw) Read in 2013
Harvest (Jim Crace) Read in 2013
Unexploded (Alison Moore) Read in 2013
Snowdrops by A D Miller Read in 2013
A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki)
We Need New Names (NoViolet Bulawayo)

Narcopolis (Jeet Thayil) Read 2016
The Lighthouse (Alison McLeod) Read 2012
Skios (Michael Frayn) Read in 2012
Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce)  Read in 2012

Snowdrops (A. D Miller)

Room (Emma Donaghue)

Brooklyn (Colm Toibin)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Ahmed)
Mister Pip (Lloyd Jones) – Read before blog began
On Chesil Beach (Ian McEwan) Read in 2018
The Welsh Girl (Peter Ho) Read in 2018

The Secret River (Kate Granville) Read in 2018


On Beauty (Zadie Smith) – Read before blog began
A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine  (Marina Lewcyka) – Read before blog began
Saturday (Ian McEwan) Read before blog began


Purple Hibiscus (Chimimanda Adichie) Read before blog began


Notes on a Scandal (Zoe Heller) Read before blog began


Fingersmith (Sarah Waters) Read before blog began


Atonement (Ian McEwan) Read before blog began


Useful Links

  • Archive of the prize winners can be found here:
  • The Complete Booker blog site with reviews written by bloggers
  1. This is a fantastic challenge. I started one of my own a few months ago – in my version, I plan to choose a year and read the shortlist and see if I agree with the choice of winner. I started with 2013 and I still haven’t finished that year (sigh) but I am so excited to meet someone so advanced in the challenge.
    Great job. I would love to chat with you about some of the ones we’ve both read so I’ll click on those reviews.
    I’m so happy to have found this post!

    • Hello Karen ( we share the same first name!). Just had a look at your blog – very impressed to see you set weekly goals and largely stick to them. Wow you have set yourself a huge challenge if you plan to read all the shortlists for all the years of the prize! That will take a few years to do I expect. If you are on Goodreads, there is a group that picks a year and then rates each book on the shortlist. Theyre doing 1990 at the moment –

  2. Hi, Karen – I finally answered your e-mail about the Complete Booker site – only 2 years later! Did you get it? Has that ship already sailed? (Looking forward to exploring this blog, either way.)

    • sorry I meant to reply and then stuff intervened so am glad you nudged me. Complete Booker unfortunately has come to a halt. all the regular contributors seemed to have other priorities so stopped writing reviews and I couldn’t get anyone to take on the ownership to try and give it a fresh start. you wouldn’t be interested would you??

  3. I love this idea! I used to always make an effort to read the winner each year, but it has slipped somewhat to ones I just like the look of, but then I have discovered so many great books in the past by looking past my first impression and giving them a go. I’m going to the library and starting on the shortlist today!

  4. I try to read Booker novels, but they don’t always appeal. Adored Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and can’t wait for book three. Agree about The Sea The Sea – I’ve read it twice, when it first came out and again last year, and love it. Of the recent ones you haven’t yet read I enjoyed The Finkler Question and The Line of Beauty, but didn’t finish The Gathering.

  5. I always have a wry smile when I come upon people doing a Booker challenge. I’ve read quite a few books on the list, but there are some that I would NEVER read in a month of Sundays, so I would never do the challenge myself! Good luck to you (and read The Sea, The Sea, soon, it’s wonderful!)

    • I’ll admit that there are some that I am really not looking forward to either. So I’m not giving any commitments that I will finish every single one..
      Ok I get the message about The Sea The Sea

  6. Did you enjoy Wolf Hall? I loved it. My mother hated it. I can’t wait to get started on the sequel.

    • I did enjoy it – the opening sequence where Cromwell is a young boy being beaten by his drunken father was very powerful. Part of the power came from the way Mantel uses the present tense so you feel that you, the reader, are living through the same experience. She also writes from the perspective of being inside Cromwell’s consciousness which gives the narrative impact.

      I can see why some people didn’t like it though – there are times when its confusing who is actually doing what and of course there are lots of characters to remember. I want to re-read it because I’m sure I missed some things first time around Karen Heenan-Davies


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