Beryl Bainbridge’s Crimean War novel Master Georgie has been voted the Man Booker Best of Beryl. Shortlisted in 1998, when it lost out to Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam, the novel was voted for via the Man Booker website, just pipping Bainbridge’s 1996 title Every Man for Himself.
The Man Booker Best of Beryl was set up to celebrate the late author, who was shortlisted for the prize five times—for The Dressmaker (1973); The Bottle Factory Outing (1974); An Awfully Big Adventure (1990); Every Man for Himself (1996) and Master Georgie (1998)—but never won. Abacus publishes all the titles in paperback.
Literary director of the Man Booker prizes Ion Trewin said: “Beryl was a very gracious non-winner and no Man Booker dinner was complete without her. She may have been known as the eternal Booker Bridesmaid, but we are delighted to be able finally to crown Master Georgie a Booker Bride.”
Master Georgie is set during the Crimean War, and follows the adventures of George Hardy, a Liverpool surgeon and photographer who offers his services during the conflict. He is followed by his adoptive sister Myrtle, a lapsed geologist, photographer’s assistant and sometime fire-eater.
Bainbridge died in July 2010.