Former BBC Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer has been announced as the new chair of the Booker Prize Foundation.
He takes up the role with immediate effect, succeeding Baroness Helena Kennedy QC who stepped down at the end of February. His appointment is for a maximum term of six years.
Damazer was previously editor of Television News, head of Current Affairs and then deputy director of the News Division at the BBC before becoming controller of BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra in 2004. He was awarded a CBE in 2011 for his services to broadcasting. He is currently chair of the examinations board of Trinity College, London, and is on the Council of the Architecture Association.
Damazer said it was a “thrill and an honour” to take on the role. He added: “The two Booker prizes are joyous celebrations of the finest fiction. For more than 50 years the Booker has generated excitement, energy and debate and it matters to those who have a love of literature – readers, writers, publishers and booksellers. I hope the Booker can become even more influential and important for all who believe in the power of brilliant storytelling.”
His appointment comes exactly a year after Silicon Valley venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz's charitable foundation Crankstart began supporting The Booker Prize Foundation. The shortlist announcement for the 2020 International Booker Prize was revealed on 2nd April, with the winner’s announcement – which was originally planned for 19th May – pushed back until the summer owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.