Philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah has been named chair of the judges for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
During the prize’s 50th anniversary year, Appiah will lead a panel of five judges in choosing the best novel published between 1st October 2017 and 30th September 2018.
He said: "Who could resist an invitation to join a diverse and distinguished group of fellow readers to explore together the riches of a year of Anglophone fiction, drawn from around the world? The excitement around the prize can help draw attention to brilliant books and worthy writers and creates one of the more interesting literary conversations each year. I'm delighted to contribute to that process."
Appiah, who is professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, was born in London in 1954 and grew up in Ghana. He studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge and taught at the University of Ghana before receiving his doctorate in Philosophy from Cambridge in 1982. He is an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, Harvard and Princeton universities, and lectured at many other institutions around the world. In 2012, president Barack Obama presented him with the National Humanities Medal in a ceremony at the White House.
Appiah specialises in moral and political philosophy, as well as issues of personal and political identity, history, colonialism, global citizenship and nationalism. In 2016, he gave the Reith Lectures on the subject of ‘Mistaken Identities’, and a book based on them, The Lies that Bind, will be published in the US in 2018.
He has reviewed regularly for the New York Review of Books and writes the weekly The Ethicist column in the New York Times magazine. He is also the author of three mystery novels featuring the barrister-sleuth Sir Patrick Scott (published by St Martin's Press).
The 12 or 13 titles longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize – The Man Booker Dozen – will be announced in July 2018. The shortlist of six titles will be revealed in September 2018 and the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.
The 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction winner was Lincoln in the Bardo by American author George Saunders, published by Bloomsbury. In the week following the winner announcement, sales of the title shot up 1227%, organisers said.