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: I Made It!!

Winning novels read to date: 46 of 50 titles read plus four I could not finish.

Favourite top 3 Booker winners copy

Books read are all marked **.  This includes books read before this challenge began in February 2012. Click the name of the book to read my review.

Which were my favourite books from these 50 titles? Read my post 10 Stellar Booker Prize Winners to find the answer.

Part way through the project I selected My top 3 winners to date. Did I change my mind once I’d read all 50? Read the post to find out.

Coming soon – my 10 least favourite Booker Prize winners….

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 
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) Read 2020
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


Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor 


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

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obiama

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

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

Narcopolis  by Jeet Thayil
The Lighthouse by Alison McLeod
Skios by Michael Frayn
Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Snowdrops by A. D Miller

Room by Emma Donaghue

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Ahmed
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

The Secret River by Kate Granville


On Beauty by Zadie Smith
A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine  by Marina Lewcyka
Saturday by Ian McEwan


Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Adichie


Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller


Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

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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