These are the Booker Prize Winning novels so far (but see updates below).  The earliest is the 1971 V. S. Naipaul winning novel ‘In a Free State’. This was coincidentally bought in the month of his death. There are 15 to go.  At least two are signed – the 1998 Ian McEwan winning novel ‘Amsterdam’ and the 2011 Julian Barnes winner ‘The Sense of an Ending’.  My copy of The Sense of an Ending has black fore and end papers. Abebooks has a few of these at prices up to £133.  Julian Barnes’ own website, in its comprehensive bibliography showing all editions, lists this version as the first edition with the following description:

“General description: Binding 20.5 x 13.5 cm. Black cloth boards stamped in gold lettering to spine. Black endpapers. Fore-edge dyed black. Back flap of dust jacket features an author photograph by Alan Edwards.”

This shows that the black cloth board and fore paper version is the true first edition.  My copy cost 70p which when compared with the average asking price on ABEbooks made it a real bargain.

Many are covered in Brodart.  Some collectors want signed first edition first impression and whereas that would be excellent I am just trying to collect all the winners in hardback.  All but one of these are UK editions. I only get them personally from bookshops – in theory I could complete the collection in a couple of hours via Ebay and ABEbooks but that spoils the fun and would be very expensive.  Today’s charity shop expedition revealed two hard back Booker winners both of which were left on the shelf as I have them already.   Most unexpected purchase was a copy of A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize.  I was rushing for a train but noticed a charity bookshelf in the station foyer and there it was.  It’s just about the biggest of all the Booker winners (The Luminaries might be slightly bigger) and it had to be lugged all the way to London and back on the train.

The photo below is of perhaps the rarest of all the Booker Prize winning related books that I have – its the ARC or advance reading copy of The White Tiger which won in 2008. It’s by Aravind Adiga.  Incidentally is the second tiger to win the Booker Prize as the first was in 1987 by Penelope Lively and was called Moon Tiger.

The White Tiger Uncorrected Bound Proof


I have a few duplicates :

so if anyone wants one of these (hopefully to swap for any that I haven’t got) please let me know.

Update – yesterday’s purchase

George Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo , UK hardback first edition 5th impression, the 2017 winner.  The dust jacket has ‘shortlisted for the Booker Prize’ printed on it.

Update September 2018 – Life & Times of Michael K by South African-born writer J. M. Coetzee found (in one of the two Oxfam bookshops in Oxford) . The novel won the Booker Prize for 1983.    Strangely enough a week later in a bookshop in Wantage I found another copy. Wait for years to find one and two come along in 7 days!

Update October 2018 – Anna Burns’ Milkman, hardback 1/2 purchased already   – from Wordery.   Bought on the day that the prize was announced. Broke my rule about getting them secondhand from charity shops.

Update January 2019

Three more – obtained.   That seems to complete the entire 1990s.  They were

1991   Ben Okri The Famished Road – second hand bookshop in Tiverton Devon

1994   James Kelman How Late It Was, How Late – Christmas Present

1996   Graham Swift Last Orders – Christmas Present

Further update

January 2019 two more found:

1974 Nadine Gordimer The Conservationist (first edition first impression)

1978 Iris Murdoch The Sea, the Sea (first edition second impression)


So the current missing ones are

1969   P. H. Newby Something to Answer For
1970   Bernice Rubens The Elected Member
1970   (retrospective award J. G. Farrell Troubles
1972   John Berger G
1973    J. G. Farrell The Siege of Krishnapur
1974  Stanley Middleton Holiday
1975   Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Heat and Dust
1976   David Storey Saville
1979   Penelope Fitzgerald Offshore
1982   Thomas Keneally Schindler’s Ark
2003   DBC Pierre Vernon God Little
2016   Paul Beatty  The Sellout  NB UK version

so I have all the 1990s very few 1970s and all but two since 1982.

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