Kwame Anthony Appiah to chair the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for its 50th year

05 December 2017

The philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah is today, 5 December 2017, named chair of the judges for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the most prestigious award for fiction written in English. During the prize’s 50th anniversary year, he will lead a panel of five judges in choosing the best novel published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Man Booker Prize Chair of judges

Kwame Anthony Appiah comments:

‘Who could resist an invitation to join a diverse and distinguished group of fellow readers to explore together the riches of a year of Anglophone fiction, drawn from around the world? The excitement around the prize can help draw attention to brilliant books and worthy writers and creates one of the more interesting literary conversations each year. I'm delighted to contribute to that process.’

Appiah, who is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, was born in London in 1954, and grew up in Ghana. He studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge and taught at the University of Ghana before receiving his doctorate in Philosophy from Cambridge in 1982. He is an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, Harvard and Princeton universities, and lectured at many other institutions around the world. In 2012, President Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal, in a ceremony at the White House.

Professor Appiah specialises in moral and political philosophy, as well as issues of personal and political identity, history, colonialism, global citizenship and nationalism. In 2016, he gave the Reith Lectures on the subject of ‘Mistaken Identities’, and a book based on them, The Lies that Bind, will be published in 2018. His award-winning collection of essays, In My Father’s House, explores the role of African and African-American intellectuals in shaping contemporary African cultural life. It won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award as well as the Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association for ‘the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English’. His book Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers won the 2007 Arthur Ross Award of the Council on Foreign Relations and in 2010 he published The Honour Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, which the New York Times called ‘fascinating, erudite and beautifully written’.

He has reviewed regularly for the New York Review of Books and writes the weekly ‘The Ethicist’ column in the New York Times magazine. He is also the author of three mystery novels featuring the barrister-sleuth Sir Patrick Scott.

Appiah, who is the grandson of Sir Stafford Cripps, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Clement Attlee’s post-war government, lives between New York City and New Jersey with his husband, Henry Finder, Editorial Director of the New Yorker magazine.

The 12 or 13 titles longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize – ‘The Man Booker Dozen’ – will be announced in July 2018. The shortlist of six titles will be revealed in September 2018 and the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

The 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction winner was Lincoln in the Bardo by American author George Saunders, published by Bloomsbury. In the week following the winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo increased by 1227%.

The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm.

To hear the most up-to-date news on the prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, or to learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, please visit:


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