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Duchess of Cornwall hosts reception to celebrate 50 years of Man Booker Prize

The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to celebrate 50 years since the founding of the Man Booker Prize for fiction.

The Man Booker Prize is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

The Duchess, who has presented the last five Man Booker Prizes, hosted the event to mark the start of a weekend of activities at the Southbank Centre.

Among the guests were 10 former prize winners including Julian Barnes who won in 2011 with his novel The Sense Of An Ending. The youngest winner, 28-year-old Eleanor Catton, was also present. Her novel The Luminaries won in 2013.

The winner in 1971, V.S Naipaul who wrote A Free State, was also among many famous names who attended the event, including Colm Toibin and Anita Desai.

Over the weekend, a programme of literary debates, readings and writing masterclasses are scheduled, as well as over 60 speakers.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, chairwoman of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “Literature has the power to change lives, quite apart from the writers who the prize honours tonight.

“It has an enormous influence in prisons, libraries, universities and schools, the work of the Booker Prize Foundation would not be possible without the very generous support of the Man Group.”

The chief executive of Man Group, Luke Ellis, added: “We’re extremely proud to have sponsored this prize over the past 16 years and, in that time, we’ve seen winners from a diverse mix of countries and backgrounds.

“The extending of the prize to include all novels written in English and the establishment of the Man Booker International Prize are merely recognition of something we all know – that great ideas don’t respect boundaries, that real excellence wants to perform on the widest stage possible.”