Book Reviews

Booker Prize Project Gets Underway

I’m about to embark on an ambitious project: to read all the books that have won the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969. That’s 42 novels in total.

Where did this mad idea originate?

I was stuck in traffic on the way to work and listening to a discussion on the radio about the announcement of the latest prize. The debate focused on why novel X won and novel Y didn’t even though ‘everyone’ except the judges thought it should have.

It got me thinking about who decides what is a great novel.  And on what basis.

Over the years I’ve read plenty of award-winning novels. Some were great. Others had me mystified how anyone could deemed this particular work, worthy of any prize.

The Booker Prize is considered one of the most prestigious awards for literature; a celebration of the very best.

But I’ve read only a few of the winners. What if I read them all?

Would I get a better understanding of why some books passed the test for the judges, and others fell by the way?  Were there some novels that were considered wonderful and exceptional at the time – but have not proved enduring?

Questions I’m aiming to answer by reading all the prize winners from 1969, the first year of the award. There were joint winners twice, in 1974 and 1992, which means I have a reading list of 42 novels to get through.

Let the journey begin…

Update from 2020

It took me just over eight years but I made it. You can read my thoughts on the experience and discover which were my favourite Booker Prize winners and which were the 10 dullest and dreariest reads.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

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