The shortlist for the Golden Man Booker Prize has been announced and the books are now available for public voting until June 25 with the winner expected to be announced on July 8. The Golden Man Booker Prize was announced in February 2018 to celebrate 50 years of the Man Booker Prize. Accordingly, a panel of five judges was instituted. Each of these judges was assigned a decade and asked to choose the best book from the Booker winners of that decade. The list has its share of surprises which made us question the accuracy of the Golden Man Booker Prize. Meanwhile, take a look at the list and make sure you vote for your favourite.

1969-1979

In A Free State

V.S. Naipaul

Robert McCrum chose In A Free State as his top pick from the 1970s as he found it “strangely thrilling”, “marvellously written”, and “a masterpiece”. He chose this “masterclass in contemporary fiction by somebody at the top of his game” over Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea and John Berger’s G: A Novel.  In A Free State is a collection of three short stories and two fragments of a travel journal on the experiences of immigrants as they find themselves outside their homeland. The book generated a minor controversy because it was not a novel so much as a story suite. All five pieces feature different characters in varied places united by displacement from their native land.

Buy it here.

1980-1989

Moon Tiger

Penelope Lively

Lemn Sissay, who selected Moon Tiger said, “The writing is sublime. The storytelling is masterful”. He also thinks that “this book is more relevant now than it was when it was a Booker Prize winner in the 1980s.” The novel was in competition with Midnight’s Children, the Best of Booker Prize winner in 2008 and Booker of Bookers Prize in 1993, and The Remains Of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro to emerge as the best book from the 1980s. Set before, during, and after World War II, the book revolves around Claudia Hampton, best-selling author of popular history. Moon Tiger is the story of Claudia’s desire to be recognised as an independent free-thinking woman of her time.

Buy it here.

1990-1999

The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje

Kamila Shamsie, the judge for the 1990s, describes The English Patient as “beautifully written” and “intricately structured”. She said, “There are few books that still remain in the world that I look at and think of as a miracle and this is one of them and it should win, definitely.” It won over Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. The English Patient follows the story of four damaged lives in an Italian mansion at the end of World War II. Hana, a Canadian army nurse, David Caravaggio, a thief, and Kip, a Sikh military sapper are all puzzled by the presence of a burned English man lying in a room upstairs. This war drama peeks into each of its character’s mind as the story unfolds and the patient recovers.

Buy it here.

2000-2009

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

Simon Mayo preferred Wolf Hall to Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Line Of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst as he considered it “fantastically readable”, “unbelievably complicated” and “straightforward and dense”.  Set in the early 16th century, Wolf Hall is a fictionalised biography of Thomas Cromwell as he rose to power in the court of Henry VIII. The book plunges the reader into the history and events of the time and their consequences and delves into the minds of the characters.

Buy it here.

2010-

Lincoln In The Bardo

George Saunders

Lincoln In The Bardo was picked by Hollie McNish, who said, “I think George Saunders, with the book, has invented a new literary level with novels. I think it must be quite hard to break boundaries in that way and I think this has done it.” It competed with Julian Barnes’ The Sense Of An Ending to be a top pick in the 2010s. Lincoln In The Bardo is set over the course of a single night, after Willie Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, dies and finds himself in the Bardo, a state between death and reincarnation, as narrated by a chorus of voices. This is a story of love and loss of a family within the framework of a supernatural realm.

Buy it here.

Have you read any of these books? Would you change any of the books on this shortlist? Share with us in the comments.

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit loves stories, be it in any form- print, media or theatre. After reading Angels and Demons, he fell in love with books, especially suspense, thriller, and fantasy. He is a big fan of Harry Potter series. He quit his engineering career to become a writer and currently works with The Curious Reader. Apart from writing he also loves filmmaking, photography, traveling and cooking. You can reach him on Instagram.