Booker Prize lives on with new sponsor

LONDON • Britain’s most prestigious literary prize will revert to being known as the Booker Prize this year after securing a new sponsor, it announced on Thursday.

The annual award for novels, which has been known as the Man Booker since 2002, has struck a sponsorship deal with the charity Crankstart, the Booker Prize Foundation said.

Investment firm Man Group announced the end of its 18-year partnership with the prize, which honours writers from Englishspeaking countries whose works are published in Britain and Ireland.

Crankstart has committed to five years of initial funding, with the option of renewing for a further five years, the foundation added in a statement.

“We are thrilled that the Booker Prizes have found such marvellous philanthropic supporters in Crankstart, whose founders share our vision and values,” said Ms Helena Kennedy, chairman of the foundation’s trustees.

Crankstart was established in 2000 by British venture capitalist Michael Moritz – who provided early backing for firms including Google and Yahoo! – and his wife Harriet Heyman.

Mr Moritz, who was born in Wales but is now based in the United States, was a journalist before moving into the world of technology investment, while Ms Heyman is a former journalist and a novelist.

The new arrangement will begin on June 1, meaning this year’s award handed out in October will be called the Booker Prize for Fiction.

A second prize open to authors of any nationality and awarded annually in May will adopt its new name – the International Booker Prize – next year.

The winner of the main award currently receives £52,500 (S$94,000), although the bigger prize is seen as a spike in sales which invariably follows. Previous winners include V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.

The prize, launched in 1969, was open only to novelists from Commonwealth states until it began permitting those from other Englishspeaking countries to enter in 2014.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'Booker Prize lives on with new sponsor'. Print Edition | Subscribe