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Booker Prize: the infographics

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With the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize announced today, we wanted to look back on how we crunched data on the literary prize in previous years.

We started our tradition of Booker Prize infographics in 2011 with our first version of plotlines (above), which charts some of the themes that make a prize-winning novel. With death in the lead, it seems 2011 was a rather gloomy year. On the bright side, this infographic did get us shortlisted for an Information is Beautiful award. View a zoomable version here. Plotlines 2011 was published in issue #5 of Delayed Gratification.

Plotlines 2012

In 2012, we repeated the plotlines format to see how the book themes’ popularity had evolved. The judges must have been feeling frisky, because sex was by far the most popular theme this year. The biggest surprise of 2012, however, was the sudden emergence of nudism and nazism. Click here for a bigger version of this infographic, which was published in issue #9 of Delayed Gratification.


Last year, we decided to mix things up a bit and focus on winning authors rather than the fruits of their imaginations. By analysing data from 45 years of the Man Booker Prize, we discovered that – perhaps unsurprisingly – if you want to win, you’re best off as an Englishman in his fifties writing his fourth novel. Ticking those boxes and still no joy? Make your protagonist an Englishman too, set your story in the present day and begin your narrative in the third person and you’ve got a formula for success. You can find a bigger version of this infographic, published in Delayed Gratification #13, here.

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