11 December 2014
The five 2015 judges are: Michael Wood (Chair), Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton; Ellah Allfrey, journalist and Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize; John Burnside, prize-winning poet; Sam Leith, author and Literary Editor at The Spectator and Frances Osborne, author and biographer. None of these have previously been a member of a Man Booker Prize judging panel, and they bring together a wide knowledge of international literature.
2015 is the 47th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969. The 2015 judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015.
Following a change in the rules introduced in 2014, the prize is now open to novels by writers of any nationality, published in the UK and originally written in English. Last year 154 books were submitted, of which 44 titles were by authors who were eligible under the new rule changes.
Michael Wood comments on behalf of the judging panel: ‘Talking about novels is almost as much fun as reading them, and we're all greatly looking forward to this double pleasure. It's a privilege to be a member of this very distinguished panel and to be part of the deliberations for the award of the Man Booker Prize, surely the most exciting and the most closely followed literary event in the English-speaking world. I believe some of the books are already waiting for us.’
Australian writer Richard Flanagan was the first to win the prize under the new rules. His novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North sold over 10,000 hardback copies in the week that followed his win, a 3,141% sales increase on the week before. The Narrow Road to the Deep North shot straight to No. 1 on iBookstore and Amazon, and Random House immediately ordered a reprint of 100,000 extra copies. Sales for the novel went on to eclipse the sum total of all Flanagan’s other book sales in the past decade.
Following his Man Booker win in October 2014, Australian author Richard Flanagan said that he was astonished at ‘being so honoured’, remarking: ‘novels are not content. Nor are they are a mirror to life or an explanation of life or a guide to life. Novels are life, or they are nothing.’
The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in August 2015 and the shortlist of six books in early September 2015. The winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 13 October 2015, at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.
The judges will read submissions both in hard copy and using iPad Airs, donated by Apple.