How Do You Win a Booker Prize?

For the past 46 years, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, launched in 1969, has been awarded to the year’s best novel. Originally reserved for citizens of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, and Zimbabwe, in 2013, the prize came to include any work written in English and published in the UK. With the prize’s longlist looming—results due in July 27th—interactive publisher FlipSnack has crunched 40 years of data to provide us with some crucial statistics about past prize winners that might just help us predict what’s to come. Check out the results below (linked to Booklist reviews when available)!


Number of Winners50
Author Nationality56% British
Author Gender66% Male
Average Author Age49
Average Number in Canon7
Protagonist Gender84% Male
Narrative Perspective66% Third Person
Average Page Length370 Pages
Setting22/50 in UK and Ireland
8/50 in India
Genre48% Historical Fiction

38% Contemporary Fiction

Average Score3.7
Average Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score75.0


Youngest WinnerEleanor Catton, age 28, for The Luminaries (2013)
Oldest WinnerWilliam Golding, age 69, for Rites of Passage (1980)
First Female WinnerBernice Rubens, for The Elected Member (1970)
Prize-winning First NovelsThe Bone People, by Keri Hulme (1985)

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy (1997)

Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre (2003)

The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (2008)

Longest NovelThe Luminaries, 848 pages, by Eleanor Catton (2013)
Shortest NovelOffshore, 140 pages, by Penelope Fitzgerald (1979)

Thoughts? Concerns? Future investigation ideas? Let us know!

And don’t miss an interactive look at FlipSnack’s survey stats—as well as a predicted winner option—here.



About the Author:

Briana Shemroske is Booklist's Editorial Assistant for Books for Youth. She recently graduated with a BA from Lake Forest College where she studied English Writing and Art History. In her free time she can be found eating cheeseburgers, frolicking with her schnoodle, Moritz, and feebly attempting to play board games. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Briana.

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