The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is one of the leading literary awards in the English-speaking world. It brings instant fame and, to a greater or lesser extent, fortune, to the shortlisted and winning authors alike.

First awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize (as it was then called) was created as an English-language version of the French Prix Goncourt. By rewarding the best new novel of the year in Britain and the Commonwealth, its aim was to encourage the wider reading of the very best in fiction. The winner now receives £50,000 and the six shortlisted authors each receive £2500. All are guaranteed a worldwide readership as well as a significant, even dramatic increase in book sales. Hardly a year goes by without the judges' decision inspiring fierce debate and controversy. Yet each year's judging panel has maintained a reputation for excellence.

Normally six books are shortlisted for the Booker, but only one wins (apart from some years when two books shared the prize). The first editions are issued as hardbacks with dust jackets. These dust jackets are an integral and important part of book design. Their function is not so much the original one of protecting the binding as to provide information about the book and its writer, and to entice the public into buying.