Great Quotes From Every Man Booker Prize Winning Novel

In honor of the 2016 Man Booker Prize winner being announced this week, here are book quotes from all of the past Man Booker Prize Winning Novels.
[Gathered by Regina Kenney]


“That’s the problem with history, we like to think it’s a book—that we can turn the page and move the fuck on. But history isn’t the paper it’s printed on. It’s memory, and memory is time, emotions, and song. History is the things that stay with you.”
― Paul Beatty, The Sellout
2016 Man Book Prize Winner


“The dream didn’t leave, people just don’t know a nightmare when they right in the middle of one.”
― Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
2015 Man Booker Prize Winner


“A good book … leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.”
― Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
2014 Man Book Prize Winner


“Love cannot be reduced to a catalogue of reasons why, and a catalogue of reasons cannot be put together into love.”
― Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
2013 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The word ‘however’ is like an imp coiled beneath your chair. It induces ink to form words you have not yet seen, and lines to march across the page and overshoot the margin. There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.”
― Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
2012 Man Booker Prize Winner


“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.”
― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
2011 Man Booker Prize Winner


“How do you go on knowing that you will never again – not ever, ever – see the person you have loved? How do you survive a single hour, a single minute, a single second of that knowledge? How do you hold yourself together?”
― Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
2010 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.”
― Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
2009 Man Booker Prize Winner


“See, the poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of?? Losing weight and looking like the poor.”
― Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
2008 Man Booker Prize Winner


“People do not change, they are merely revealed.”
― Anne Enright, The Gathering
2007 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.”
― Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
2006 Man Booker Prize Winner


“We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.”
― John Banville, The Sea
2005 Man Booker Prize Winner


“He wanted pure compliments, just as he wanted unconditional love.”
― Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2004 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The problem with learning the truth about things is that you lose the confidence that comes from being dumb.”
― D.B.C. Pierre, Vernon God Little
2003 Man Booker Prize Winner


“It is true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2002 Man Booker Prize Winner


“If you know the country he said then you will be a wild colonial boy forever”
― Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2001 Man Booker Prize Winner


“If you knew what was going to happen, if you knew everything that was going to happen next—if you knew in advance the consequences of your own actions—you’d be doomed. You’d be ruined as God. You’d be a stone. You’d never eat or drink or laugh or get out of bed in the morning. You’d never love anyone, ever again. You’d never dare to.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
2000 Man Booker Prize Winner


“When all else fails, philosophize.”
― J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
1999 Man Booker Prize Winner


“We knew so little about each other. We lay mostly submerged, like ice floes with our visible social selves projecting only cool and white. Here was a rare sight below the waves, of a man’s privacy and turmoil, of his dignity upended by the overpowering necessity of pure fantasy, pure thought, by the irreducible human element – Mind.”
― Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
1998 Man Booker Prize Winner


“That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1997 Man Booker Prize Winner


“It makes you feel sort of cheap and titchy. Like it’s looking down at you, saying, I’m Canterbury Cathedral, who the hell are you?”
― Graham Swift, Last Orders
1996 Man Booker Prize Winner


“We are Craiglockhart’s success stories. Look at us. We don’t remember, we don’t feel, we don’t think – at least beyond the confines of what’s needed to do the job. By any proper civilized standard (but what does that mean now?) we are objects of horror. But our nerves are completely steady. And we are still alive.”
― Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1995 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Funny how ye tell people a story to make a point and ye fail, ye fail, a total disaster. Not only do ye no make yer point it winds up the exact fucking opposite man, the exact fucking opposite. That isnay a misunderstanding it’s a total
― James Kelman, How Late It Was, How Late
1994 Man Booker Prize Winner


“It was a sign of growing up, when the dark made no more difference to you than the day.”
― Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1993 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Nothing a man suffers will prevent him from inflicting suffering on others. Indeed, it will teach him the way”
― Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1992 Man Booker Prize Winner (Two Winners This Year) 


“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
1992 Man Booker Prize Winner (Two Winners This Year) 



“This is what you must be like. Grow wherever life puts you down.”
― Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1991 Man Booker Prize Winner


“I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.”
― A.S. Byatt, Possession
1990 Man Booker Prize Winner


“What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took? Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy. And if some of us are prepared to sacrifice much in life in order to pursue such aspirations, surely that in itself, whatever the outcome, cause for pride and contentment.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1989 Man Booker Prize Winner


“To know you will be lonely is not the same as being lonely.”
― Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1988 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Language tethers us to the world; without it we spin like atoms.”
― Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1987 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Everybody had been in their twenties then; well, round about thirty. Now, from round about seventy, all those years of maturity or the prime of life or whatever you called it looked like an interval between two bouts of vomiting.”
― Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1986 Man Booker Prize Winner


“You want to know about anybody? See what books they read, and how they’ve been read…”
― Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1985 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything.”
― Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1984 Man Booker Prize Winner


“He even knew the reason why: because enough men had gone off to war saying the time for gardening was when the war was over; whereas there must be men to stay behind and keep gardening alive, or at least the idea of gardening; because once that cord was broken, the earth would grow hard and forget her children. That was why.”
― J.M. Coetzee, Life and Times of Michael K
1983 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
― Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark
1982 Man Booker Prize Winner


“I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”
― Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
1981 Man Booker Prize Winner


“In our country for all her greatness there is one thing she cannot do and that is translate a person wholly out of one class into another. Perfect translation from one language into another is impossible. Class is the British language.”
― William Golding, Rites of Passage
1980 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Duty is what no-one else will do at the moment.”
― Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1979 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
1978 Man Booker Prize Winner


“I remember one party when we seemed to be absolutely stranded. Perhaps that was symbolic, Mr. Turner. I mean everyone else gone and just Tusker and me, peering out into the dark waiting for transport that never turned up.”
― Paul Scott, Staying On
1977 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Bletchley said, sweating freshly in the heat of the bus. ‘Some of the species adapt, others don’t. In effect, when coal is acquired by wholly mechanical means or perhaps isn’t even needed at all, people like Batty and his brothers, and Stringer, won’t have a function. And when the function ceases so does the species, or those parts of it that can’t recognize or create a further function.”
― David Storey, Saville
1976 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The rest of the time Olivia was alone in her big house with all the doors and windows shut to keep out the heat and dust.”
― Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Heat and Dust
1975 Man Booker Prize Winner


“Everybody judges from the point of view of his own inadequacy.”
― Stanley Middleton, Holiday
1974 Man Booker Prize Winner (Two Winners This Year) 


“What is it they think they can have? What do they think’s available? Peace, Happiness and Justice? To be achieved by pretty women and schoolboys? The millennium? By people who want good respectable company lawyers? Change the world but keep bits of it the way I like it for myself – who wouldn’t make the world over if it were to be as easy as that. To keep anything the way you like it for yourself you have to have the stomach to ignore – dead and hidden – what intrudes.”
-Nadine Gordimer, The Conversationalist
1974 Man Booker Prize Winner (Two Winners This Year) 


“Why do people insist on defending their ideas and opinions with such ferocity, as if defending honour itself? What could be easier to change than an idea?”
― J.G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
1973 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The mystery of her own poor health began with his death and gradually established the foundation of a lifelong right: the right to be less than present, the right to withdraw.”
– John Berger, G.
1972 Man Booker Prize Winner


“The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.”
― V.S. Naipaul, In a Free State
1971 Man Booker Prize Winner


“And everyone would climb the stairs chuckling to their rooms and dream of aces and knaves and a supply of trumps that would last for ever and ever, one trump after another, an invincible superiority subject to neither change nor decay nor old age, for a trump will always be a trump, come what may.”
― J.G. Farrell, Troubles
1970 Man Booker Prize Winner (Retrospective Award) 


“Something had to happen between them. Two people cannot play a conspiracy for so long, and play it each on his own. There came a moment, when, in the dross of lies, the truth, known to them both, had to be asserted, and for their own sanity, shared.”
― Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member
1970 Man Booker Prize Winner


“It amazed him the Egyptians treated them so well. Perhaps they would come back in a few minutes and shoot them. They were bad organizers. The British might deliberately give a man breakfast before shooting him. The Egyptians would intend not to and then forget to warn the kitchen.”
― P.H. Newby, Something to Answer For
1969 Man Booker Prize Winner

Related Articles: Great Quotes From 100 Years Of Nobel Prize For Literature



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s