The winner 2011’s Man Booker Prize was announced this week as Julian Barnes for The Sense of an Ending. For all of its controversies (click here to read the article) the Man Booker is still one of the book industry’s most important awards, and just making the long-list can see a book’s sales sky-rocket.
If you fancy settling down with some Booker Prize winners of the past we can recommend loads. Try out the weird and wonderful Life of Pi, which follows the story of Pi, a shipwreck survivor and his Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The English Patient is brilliant too, and worth a look even if you have already seen the award-winning film. Comedy fans might like Kingsley Amis’ 1986 winner The Old Devils while if you’re looking for something a little more obscure and complex, give How Late It Was, How Late a go.
But over at World of Rare Books we are interested in the older titles. In our quiet little corner of the business we only deal with books from before the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was introduced, which happened in 1970. So because the Man Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969, that means only one book falls under our jurisdiction. P.H. Newby’s 17th novel Something to Answer For won the first ever Man Booker Prize.
It’s a hectic, confusing and fascinating tale with brilliant writing that hasn’t aged at all. Newby’s novel is currently out of print, and a first edition will set you back upwards of £200. If we ever find one we’ll let you know on our rare books twitter and Facebook.
– David Wells