Howard Jacobson is tonight (Tuesday 12 October) named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Finkler Question, published by Bloomsbury. London author and columnist Howard Jacobson has been longlisted twice for the prize, in 2006 for Kalooki Nights and in 2002 for Who's Sorry Now, but has never before been shortlisted. The Finkler Question is a novel about love, loss and male friendship, and explores what it means to be Jewish today.
Said to have ‘some of the wittiest, most poignant and sharply intelligent comic prose in the English language', The Finkler Question has been described as ‘wonderful' and ‘richly satisfying' and as a novel of ‘full of wit, warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding'. This is the third Man Booker winner published by Bloomsbury. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood won the prize in 2000 and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje in 1992. The publisher has had six shortlisted books including Cats Eye (1989), Alias Grace (1996) and Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood, Lies of Silence (1990) by Brian Moore, Crossing the River (1993) by Caryl Phillips and The Map of Love (1999) by Ahdaf Soueif. Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of the judges, made the announcement, which was broadcast by the BBC from the awards dinner at London's Guildhall. Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man, presented Howard Jacobson with a cheque for £50,000. Andrew Motion comments ‘The Finkler Question is a marvellous book: very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize.'
Over and above his prize of £50,000, Howard Jacobson can expect a huge increase in sales and recognition worldwide. Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 and a designer-bound edition of their book. The judging panel for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Andrew Motion (Chair), former Poet Laureate; Rosie Blau, Literary Editor of the Financial Times; Deborah Bull, formerly a dancer, now Creative Director of the Royal Opera House as well as a writer and broadcaster; Tom Sutcliffe, journalist, broadcaster and author and Frances Wilson, biographer and critic. Sales of the books longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize have been stronger than ever before, with sales over 45% higher than last year.