Man nears deal to extend Booker sponsorship

Hedge fund investor Man Group is finalising negotiations to extend its longstanding sponsorship of the Booker literary awards, promoting the arts at a time chief executive Peter Clarke said constricting public finance made corporate backing particularly important.

Clarke spoke at a London ceremony last night celebrating the works of Man Booker International Prize winner, Philip Roth.

“At a time of cutbacks in public funding for the arts, Man is highly cognisant of the importance of corporate support in this area,” Clarke said.

The other finalists alongside Roth were Wang Anyi, Juan Goytisolo, James Kelman, John le Carré (who later withdrew), Amin Maalouf, David Malouf, Dacia Maraini, Rohinton Mistry, Philip Pullman, Marilynne Robinson, Su Tong, and Anne Tyler.

Roth is a controversial US novelist of works including Portnoy’s Complaint, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain.

The Man Booker International celebrates a body of work.

Rick Gekoski, chair of the judging panel, said Roth’s body of work was a “masterpiece”, yet had the capability to infuriate readers at the same time.

Previous winners of the prize were Albanian Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Nigerian Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Canadian Alice Munro in 2009.

The Man Booker Prize, which Man sponsored since 2002, awards the best novel each year by a citizen of the Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland.

Recent winners included Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question); Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall); Aravind Adiga (White Tiger); Anne Enright (The Gathering); and Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss).

Man also sponsors the Man Asian Literary Prize, an annual award for the best novel by an Asian writer, written in, or translated into English. Last year this was won by Bi Feiyu for Three Sisters.

David Walker

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