CommentaryApril 7th, 2017
One World, two Bookers
To win one Man Booker Prize can be the high point of any literary publisher’s career—but to win two is beyond the dreams of most.
That, though, is the feat of literary publisher Oneworld and its co-founders Juliet Mabey and Novin Doostdar. What’s more, they completed the double in just two years—with Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015 and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout in 2016.
Four months on from Beatty’s triumph, the achievement is still sinking in. “No-one expects to win one, so to get two has been incredibly exciting,” Mabey says. “The first time was extraordinary; the second time was seriously unreal.”
She acknowledges that winning the Man Booker requires a large slice of fortune, and an alignment of the tastes of the judges assembled for the prize. But it is also a hard-earned reward for Oneworld’s bold and brave approach since it was founded three decades ago. “It’s a vindication of our publishing interesting and diverse books without worrying too much about things like an author’s track record.”