Papers of the Booker Literary Prizes

Scope and Content

The majority of the papers relate to the administrative history of the Booker Prize, later the Man Booker Prize, from 1968 to date. The papers include correspondence, minutes of meetings, publicity material, photographs, and material relating to the award ceremony and the judging process.

The collection also includes papers relating to the Booker Russian Novel Prize, and the Man Booker International Prize.

The collection is composed of the papers of Booker plc, the original sponsors of the prize; Book Trust (previously the National Book League) and Colman Getty PR, two of the organizations responsible for running the prize; and Marilyn Edwards, Martyn Goff, and Ion Trewin, past and present administrators of the prize.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is a literary prize for the best English language novel of the year written by a British or Commonwealth author. The original sponsor of the prize was the food wholesaler Booker plc., whose Authors' Division owned the copyright of a number of well-known authors. In 2001, Booker plc. merged with the Big Food Group plc. In response to this change, the Booker Prize Foundation was formed to take responsibility for the prize. A new sponsor was also sought, and the role was won by The Man Group plc., a global investment management business, and since 2003 the award has been known as the Man Booker Prize. For further details on the history of the prize, see 'The Man Booker Prize: 35 years of the best in contemporary fiction 1969-2003', published by the Booker Prize Foundation, 2003.

The Booker Russian Novel Prize, awarded for the best work of fiction written in the Russian language, was launched in 1992. The prize was initially sponsored by Booker plc and administered locally by the British Council. Sponsorship of the prize was transferred in 1997 to United Distillers & Vintners (UDV), the spirits and wine arm of Diageo plc and owner of Smirnoff vodka, and the prize renamed the Smirnoff Booker Prize in 1999. In 2002 the Open Russia Foundation, founded by the YUKOS Oil Company, became the sponsor and the prize was renamed the Booker-Open Russia Prize. In 2006, sponsorship of the prize was transferred to the oil company BP.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years in recognition of the work of an author of any nationality whose work is available in English. The first prize was awarded in 2005. There is also a separate prize for translation into English, the winner of which is chosen by the winning author.

Access Information

Before your first visit to the Special Collections Reading Room please complete a Reading Room registration form . The form is also available from the Headington Library Enquiry Desk. Internal staff and students will be asked to show their University ID card, and external applicants should bring proof of address

Applicants are bound by the Reading Room regulations .

The Reading Room is open between 1pm and 5pm, Monday to Friday, during the University semesters (dates available here ) and researchers can visit by prior appointment outside these times; Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. Please email us to arrange a visit or if you have any queries:

Material relating to the judging process is closed for 10 years. Advisory group minutes, longlists prior to 2001, and information concerning submissions are closed for 20 years. Permission is required to view material relating to professional advice, i.e. accountants, tax and legal papers.

An additional form must be completed by any researcher wishing to use the collection.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Eleanor Possart, 2008-present.

Appraisal Information

Arranged into four series of different prize categories.

Custodial History

Gift from the Booker Prize Foundation, includes papers originally belonging to Booker plc., Colman Getty PR, Martyn Goff, and Book Trust.

Gift from Marilyn Edwards, administrator of the Booker Prize, 1968-1972.


Further accruals are expected.


'Booker 30: a celebration of 30 years of the booker prize for fiction 1969-1998', published by Booker plc., 1998.

'The Man Booker Prize: 35 years of the best in contemporary fiction 1969-2003', published by the Booker Prize Foundation, 2003.

'The Man Booker Prizes', official website, .