The Best of the Booker is a special prize awarded in commemoration of the Booker Prize's 40th anniversary. Eligible books included the 41 winners of the Booker Prize since its inception in 1969. The six shortlisted titles were announced on 12 May 2008 and were chosen by novelist Victoria Glendinning, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and Professor of English at University College London John Mullan. Among the nominees were the only two authors to have won the Booker twice, Peter Carey and J.M. Coetzee, nominated for their novels Oscar & Lucinda and Disgrace respectively.
The winner, as chosen by a public vote, was Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, and was announced on July 10 at the London Literature Festival. Midnight's Children not only won the 1981 Booker, but also the special 1993 Booker of Bookers prize, which commemorated the award's 25th anniversary. This represented an unprecedented third Booker victory for Rushdie.
The shortlisted titles were:
- (1973) J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
- (1974) Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist
- (1981) Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
- (1988) Peter Carey, Oscar & Lucinda
- (1995) Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
- (1999) J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace
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