Entertainment & Arts

Olivia Williams joins Booker prize judges

Booker judges Image copyright Mark Cocksedge
Image caption Olivia Williams (left) is joined by poet David Harsent (second left), novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, (second right) and scholar Jon Day (far right) while historian Amanda Foreman (centre) is the chairperson

Actress Olivia Williams will be one of the five judges of the 2016 Man Booker Prize for fiction.

Sixth Sense star Williams will be joined by English scholar Jon Day, former Booker nominee Abdulrazak Gurnah and poet David Harsent,

The panel will be chaired by the leading historian, biographer and TV presenter Amanda Foreman, who recently fronted The Ascent of Woman on the BBC.

Marlon James won this year's Booker for A Brief History of Seven Killings.

The Jamaican author picked up the £50,000 prize for his story inspired by the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s.

Michael Wood, chair of the 2015 judges, described James's 680-page work as the "most exciting" book on the shortlist, "full of surprises" as well as being "very violent" and "full of swearing".

'Once-in-a-lifetime'

Next year's chair, Foreman, said she was "honoured" to have been appointed.

"We have an incredibly intense and stimulating time ahead of us," she said.

"For nearly 50 years the prize has played a special role in its contribution to modern culture. It is also unique in the demands it places on the judges.

"But rising to the challenge is part of what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If anybody needs to speak to me, I'll be in my study, reading."

Next year will mark the 48th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969.

The 2016 judging panel will be looking for the best novel of the year, selected from entries published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

Between them, the judges will read more than 100 novels submitted by UK and international publishers, in both hard copy and on e-readers.

The Man Booker Dozen of 12 or 13 books will be announced in July and the shortlist of six books in September, with the winner named in October.

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