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The Man Booker Prize

Credit Janie Airey

It’s been another triumphant year for the Man Booker Prize. History was made this month when 28 year old Eleanor Catton was pronounced this year’s winner for The Luminaries, making her both the youngest ever winner with the longest winning book. She was presented her trophy by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, a great supporter of promoting literacy in young people, and the first royal to attend the winner ceremony in the 45 year history of the prize.Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane commented: ‘The Luminaries is a magnificent novel: awesome in its structural complexity; addictive in its story-telling and magical in its conjuring of a world of greed and gold.The attendance of HRH created a slightly more complicated set up at the Guildhall this year as we needed to accommodate sniffer dogs in the afternoon and a walk through with the police team of six ahead of the dinner. The evening was a huge success and guests were delighted with the delicious three course meal and specially branded chocolate boxes celebrating ‘45 Years: Fiction at its finest’The announcement made international news with both Canada and New Zealand claiming Catton as one of their own – (she lives in New Zealand but was born in Canada). Closer to home, the BBC covered the night live on the BBC News Channel – with a big shout out for Four Colman Getty when Robert Macfarlane personally thanked the team for all their support. Further coverage ran across the network included News at Ten and Newsnight.The story was covered extensively in the nationals, with The Times, The Independent and The Guardian all featuring the news on their front pages. We even had a piece in The Sun! And after just two hours sleep the jubilant Eleanor gave a full day of interviews securing further column inches throughout the week.In the build-up to the announcement we curated three major events around the country with the shortlisted writers reading and discussing their work in front of lively, engaged audiences at the new Library of Birmingham, at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival and at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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