Culture

Since Four Culture announced the Golden Man Booker in February – a special one-off prize crowning the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize – readers have been debating which five titles would make the shortlist. Whether Salmon Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (winner of the Best of Booker and Booker of Bookers) would feature was the question on everyone’s lips, as reported by The Guardian.

Last weekend, during a reception at the Hay Festival, judge Simon Mayo finally revealed the ‘Golden Five’: writer and editor Robert McCrum selected In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul for the 1970s; poet Lemn Sissay chose Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively for the 1980s; acclaimed novelist Kamila Shamsie crowned The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje as her winner from the 1990s; broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo plumped for Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for the noughties; and poet Hollie McNish, judging the 2010s, chose most recent winner Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

The books will now go head-to-head in a month long public vote on the Man Booker website to decide the ultimate winner, which will be announced at Golden Man Booker Live, the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival at the Southbank Centre, on 8 July. You can get your tickets for this and see the rest of the programme here.

The hotly anticipated announcement was reported on around the world, including in India, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey and the Middle East, and discussed widely on Twitter using our new #ManBooker50 emoji. More than 300 libraries, along with all the major retail chains and 66 independent bookshops, are supporting the campaign with point of sale materials, as rounded up in this The Bookseller article.

In a panel event at the Hay Festival, described by Rosie Goldsmith as “the most exciting discussion on literature in a very long time”, writers Elif Shafak, Philippe Sands and Juan Gabriel Vasquez plumped for both Moon Tiger and The English Patient as their favourites from the list, but which book do you think should secure the golden gong? Head over to the Man Booker website to listen to interviews with our judges explaining their choices and cast your vote now!