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…