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 Winners 50
Author Nationality 56% British
Author Gender 66% Male
Average Author Age 49
Average Number in Canon 7
Protagonist Gender 84% Male
Narrative Perspective 66% Third Person
Average Page Length 370 Pages
Setting 22/50 in UK and Ireland
8/50 in India
Genre 48% Historical Fiction

38% Contemporary Fiction

Average Score 3.7
Average Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score 75.0


Youngest Winner Eleanor Catton, age 28, for The Luminaries (2013)
Oldest Winner William Golding, age 69, for Rites of Passage (1980)
First Female Winner Bernice Rubens, for The Elected Member (1970)
Prize-winning First Novels The 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 Novel The Luminaries, 848 pages, by Eleanor Catton (2013)
Shortest Novel Offshore, 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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