Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you’re probably aware that the 2014 Man Booker Prize was awarded to Australian author Richard Flanagan his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. As ever, the Four Colman Getty team worked tirelessly to put on the spectacular event and manage the huge media interest.
The dinner at London’s Guildhall was attended by 500 people from the literary world, media and the sponsor, Man Group. We were delighted to welcome back HRH The Duchess of Cornwall for the second time this year. She was greeted by Flanagan with a protocol-defying hug as she presented him with his prize. The event was broadcast live on the BBC News Channel, streamed online internationally on The BBC Arts Hub, and covered on the BBC One’s News at Ten and BBC Two’s Newsnight.
From that moment on, Flanagan has been ‘surfing an avalanche’ of international media requests. Beginning with BBC Breakfast and Radio 4’s Today programme the morning after his win (and after very little sleep), he did a full day of interviews, from The Guardian to The New York Times, all the while in quite a state of shock having been ‘fully prepared not to win’! The gruelling schedule was certainly worthwhile though, with coverage gathered having a collective circulation of just under 155 million, while the reach of all tweets using Man Booker Prize related hashtags that day over 20 million.
The Royal Mail also jumped on board to celebrate Richard’s success. Four Colman Getty team worked with them to ensure that any post sent on Thursday, Friday or Saturday the week of the ceremony would carry a message congratulating Flanagan on his win – a first for any literary prize.
Richard Flanagan’s sales success has also been a headline story, with his UK book sales the week following the announcement at almost £140,000, eclipsing the sum total of the past decade. 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. A trip to the US has been arranged for this November on the back of his win, and Chatto & Windus is already planning his return visit to the UK in May next year, to coincide with the paperback publication of the book.