An author who missed out on the country’s most prominent literary prize five times will finally be recognised almost a year after her death.
Dame Beryl Bainbridge, who died last July, was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize five times but never won.
Organisers are now asking readers to vote for one of her five shortlisted novels to be awarded a special prize called The Man Booker Best of Beryl.
The prize’s literary director Ion Trewin said: “Dame Beryl was a very gracious non-winner and no Man Booker dinner was complete without her.
“She may have been the eternal Booker Bridesmaid but, with this special prize created in her honour, we are delighted to be able finally to crown her a Booker Bride by letting the public choose what they believe to be the best of her books.”
Bainbridge, who was born in Liverpool, wrote 17 novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television.
Her shortlisted books were The Dressmaker (1973); The Bottle Factory Outing (1974); An Awfully Big Adventure (1990); Every Man for Himself (1996) and Master Georgie (1998).
Her daughter Jojo Davies said: “Beryl did want to win the Booker very much despite her protests to the contrary. We are glad she is finally able to become a bride, no longer the bridesmaid.”
An online poll, on the awards website at www.themanbookerprize.com, opens today with the winning novel announced in April.
This year’s prize, awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, will be announced in October with the winning author collecting a £50,000 and a boost in sales.