Abdulrazak Gurnah, Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures in the School of English, has been appointed as one of the judges for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Professor Gurnah joins an historian, a literary critic, a poet and an actor on the panel, which was announced on 14 December.
Chaired by Amanda Foreman, biographer, historian and presenter of the highly acclaimed recent BBC series, The Ascent of Woman, the panel also includes: Jon Day, Critic and Lecturer in English at King’s College London, specialising in modernist fiction; David Harsent, poet and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton, winner of 2014 T.S. Eliot prize; Olivia Williams, actor, currently starring in a National Theatre’s production of Harley Granville-Barker’s Waste.
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in Zanzibar and joined the University of Kent in 1985. His fourth novel Paradise was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1994 and By The Sea was longlisted in 2004. His latest novel is The Last Gift (2011). His main academic interest is in postcolonial writing and in discourses associated with colonialism, especially as they relate to Africa, the Caribbean and India. He has edited two volumes of Essays on African Writing, and has published articles on a number of contemporary postcolonial writers, including Naipaul, Rushdie and Zoe Wicomb. He is the editor of A Companion to Salman Rushdie (Cambridge University Press 2007).
Professor David Herd, Head of the School of English, said: ‘I am delighted for Abdulrazak Gurnah. His appointment to the panel for the Man Booker is recognition of his high standing as both a novelist and an academic. He is a wonderful writer, as previous Booker Prize panels have recognised, and as an academic he has analysed the work of many prominent novelists. He will, I am sure, bring a unique insight to the panel’s deliberations.’
Next year will be the 48th year of the prestigious Man Booker Prize, which was launched in 1969. The 2016 judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
The ‘Man Booker Dozen’ of 12 or 13 books will be announced in late July 2016 and the shortlist of six books in early September 2016. The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on 11 October 2016 at an awards ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast live by the BBC.