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News > Alumnae News > OR Juliet Mabey OBE - Booker Prize Success

OR Juliet Mabey OBE - Booker Prize Success

Juliet Mabey's publishing company, Oneworld, receives their third Booker Prize in a decade.
6 Mar 2024
Alumnae News

Juliet Mabey OBE (No 4, 1966-72), with her husband Novin Doostdar, set up an award-winning independent publishing company, Oneworld Publications, in Oxford in 1986, and at the end of November were thrilled to receive their third Booker Prize in a decade. Their original remit was to publish non-fiction by academics for a general audience, and over the years they have won a number of prestigious prizes, including the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science, the FT Business Book of the Year, and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing. However, twenty years later Juliet decided to branch out into literary fiction to showcase a rich diversity of voices and stories from around the world, in English and in translation, and now focuses exclusively on the fiction side of the business, including overseeing a children’s list.  

Success quickly followed with a flurry of bestsellers and awards. In 2015 Oneworld won their first Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings by Jamaican author Marlon James, and the following year they won again for The Sellout by Paul Beatty. Three years later Oneworld won its first Women’s Prize for Fiction with An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and in 2023 came their latest Booker win with Prophet Song by Paul Lynch. In addition to these major prize wins, there have been numerous other award nods along the way, including shortlistings for the International Booker and wins for the RSL Encore Prize, the Green Carnation Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Kitchies, the Diverse Book Award and the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. In 2023 Oneworld won Independent Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards, and Juliet was awarded an OBE in 2021 for services to publishing.

After studying Social Anthropology at Edinburgh, Juliet brings a very international outlook to her commissioning:

“Fiction is often seen as less intellectually stimulating and educational than its sister genre non-fiction, but it can be a very powerful social force. The novelist invites readers into worlds beyond their experience, to walk in other people’s shoes, and perhaps to see the world from their point of view, and ultimately this helps us to empathise with, and often to change the way we regard, the other. Reading Dickens at school, for example, had a massive impact on me, and opened a window onto a world I’d never seen, and in his lifetime novels like Oliver Twist helped raised public awareness of the plight of the poor and both the social and personal impact of the workhouses in Victorian Britain.”

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