Launched in 1969, The Booker Prize (which became the Man Booker Prize in 2002) has long been regarded as one of the most important awards in the literary calendar. With its aim to promote the finest fiction written in English, the winner not only receives a cash prize and a designer-bound copy of their book, but also a sharp increase in sales.
With so many fantastic authors and books having received the award over the last few decades, it's tough to pinpoint just 10 that we think are the absolute best but we have, somehow, managed to narrow it down and here they are, in no particular order...
Year won: 1981
Saleem Sinai is born at the very moment of India's independence and, just like every Indian child born during that crucial midnight hour, he gains a special power. His gift is telepathy and over the years of his life he will have encounters with other special "midnight's children" and witness the years of turmoil and liberation that followed India's independence. Saleem's fascinating life story is linked completely to the story of his nation in this eye-opening novel.
Year won: 1982
This terrific book is based on the real story of Oskar Schindler who is responsible for saving 1200 Jews during the Holocaust. In the novel, Oskar transforms from a womaniser and drinker to hero in a time of darkness and this emotional story was so loved it was adapted into the amazingly successful Schindler's List film directed by Steven Spielberg.
Year won: 1987
Claudia Hampton is close to dying but determined to write a history of the world before she does. However, as she starts putting her words down she actually starts revealing her own history. In this fiercely strong and independent woman's life story you'll discover the events that made her who she is and meet the people that changed her life for better and worse. This is a powerful story about a life and all that affects it.
Year won: 1989
In the 1950s, Stevens, an old butler, goes on a car journey through the countryside and along the way he relives his past and takes the reader through the history of England. The book moves between a story of war to a story of love and back. This is an unforgettable read from the author of Never Let Me Go.
Year won: 1992
In an Italian villa at the end of World War Two is Hana, a nurse who has stayed behind to care for her final patient. The patient is an English man with no identity and no clue as to who he was before the war broke out aside from a book filled with secret notes. As Hana tries to learn more about her patient, she uncovers the story of one truly gripping love affair.
Year won: 1995
The Ghost Road is the final book in the Regeneration trilogy which features eye-opening stories of the First World War. This particular novel takes place over the final few months of the war and sees psychiatrist William Rivers attempt to help the many struggling soldiers that come to him for assistance. One of these very soldiers is Billy Prior who is about to return to France with his fellow officer and young poet, Wilfred Owen. This is an eye-opening and gritty story of history, war and the price we pay for victory.
Year won: 2000
This feat of storytelling follows Iris as she recounts the story of her sister's death in 1945. However, we then jump into a science-fiction/romance novel Iris is working on called The Blind Assassin and soon enough will jump back and revisit Iris and her story. This is a fascinating novel that tells multiple stories in one by intertwining them so artfully, from reading this book you won't be at all surprised Margaret Atwood is considered one of the best writers of our time.
Year won: 2002
Before it was a hugely successful movie, Life of Pi was a hugely successful book. After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean the few survivors find themselves on a small boat sailing into the unknown. Pi, a young Tamil boy, is one of these survivors and his one constant companion during his sea-faring ordeal is a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. This exciting and beautiful novel will stay with you long after you've finished the book.
Year won: 2009
In Tudor England Henry VIII is causing chaos as he forges a new path for England in order to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. At his side is Thomas Cromwell, a most unusual and enigmatic man. Hilary Mantel blends the psychology of her characters with the complex politics of the time they live in. A truly compelling and unique book, this is historical fiction at its finest.
Year won: 2011
This compelling psychological thriller sees Tony Webster, a retired, divorced and, on the surface, perfectly normal man come face-to-face with his harrowing past. At sixth form, Tony had friends that he thought he'd never lose but after what happened he spent years trying to turn his back on them and the life he knew. But skeletons don't stay in the cupboard forever and now Tony must learn to face up to everything he's done...
We think these amazing books definitely deserved all the accolades they received and are perfect for everyone's book bucket lists.