Penguin Group publishes half of the titles on the Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlist

Booker Prize Finalists A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz; The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry; Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh are all published by Penguin Group companies around the world.

Additionally, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant are distributed by Penguin Group.

New York
and London, September 9, 2008... Penguin Group publishes or distributes five of the six titles on the Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlist, which was announced today in London. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz is published by Penguin Group imprint Hamish Hamilton in the UK, Australia, India and South Africa. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry is published by Penguin Group (USA)'s Viking imprint and also distributed by Penguin in Canada and India. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh is published by Penguin India and Penguin Canada. The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (Virago) is distributed by Penguin Canada and Penguin South Africa. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Atlantic) is distributed by Penguin Australia and Penguin South Africa.

John Makinson, Chairman and Chief Executive of Penguin Group, commented, "This is a great day for Penguin's literary publishing around the world.  Our publishers are responsible for half the titles on the Man Booker Prize 2008 shortlist and we are also delighted to sell, market and distribute a further two of the six finalists as part of our global distribution network." 


The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man Group plc was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002, with a five year extension agreed in 2006.

The Man Booker Prize judging panel is chaired by Michael Portillo former MP and Cabinet Minister. He is joined by Alex Clark, editor of Granta; Louise Doughty, novelist; James Heneage, founder of Ottakar's bookshops and Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV and radio broadcaster. The judging panel read more than 112 entries before whittling down the list to the Man Booker Dozen (13 titles) and then again to just six titles. They will meet to decide on the winning novel on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, and the winning author will be award the £50,000 prize money at an awards ceremony later on that evening at Guildhall, London.

Here are brief summaries of the Man Booker Prize 2008 Shortlist titles that Penguin Group publishes or distributes:

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

A Fraction of the Whole is a story that takes the central characters from the Australian bush to the cafes of Paris, from the Thai jungle to strip clubs, asylums, labyrinths and criminal lairs, and from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition.

Steve Toltz was born in Sydney and has lived in Montreal, Vancouver, Barcelona and Paris, working primarily as a screenwriter but also doing stints as a private investigator and an English teacher. A Fraction of the Whole is his first novel.

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

Set in Ireland, The Secret Scripture is the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment yet marked by passion and hope.

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin. He has written a number of plays and his novels include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002) and A Long Long Way (2005) which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Dublin International Impac Prize.  He has won, among other awards, the Irish-America Fund Literary Award, the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize. He currently lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

Sea of Poppiesby Amitav Ghosh

Set just before the Opium Wars, this novel has at its heart an old slaving-ship, The Ibis and its crew, a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. As the novel unfolds, an unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races and generations.

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford. He has taught at a number of institutions, most recently Harvard, and written for many publications. His international bestseller, The Glass Palace was published in 2000. He currently divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Born in the heartland of India to the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram Halwai, the "White Tiger," dreams of escaping his life as a teashop worker turned chauffeur. As he passes through two different Indias on his journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success, he begins to realize how the Tiger might finally escape his cage.

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras and raised partly in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities and is a former correspondent for Time magazine in India. Adiga's articles have also appeared in publications such as the Financial Times, Independent and Sunday Times. He currently lives in Mumbai.

The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant

The Clothes on Their Backs is a story about concealed pasts, dark subjects, dark places and stark choices and how the clothes we wear define us all.

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool and currently lives in London.  She is the author of several award-winning novels, including The Cast Iron Shore, published in 1996 and When I Lived in Modern Times, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her novel Still Here was longlisted for The Booker Prize in 2002.

Penguin Group (, one of the world's largest English-language trade book publishers, has established divisions and key market positions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland.  The Penguin Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.


In the US:

Marilyn Ducksworth
(212) 366-2564

Dave Zimmer
(212) 366-2687

In the UK:

Joanna Prior
+1 44 020 7010 3250