Exhibitions

Man Booker Prize

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Every year six DB Fellows each bind one of the six titles shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Designed and completed in 4-5 weeks, these bindings are presented to the authors on the night of the Man Booker award ceremony.

  • by Jim Crace

    bound by GLENN BARTLEY
    Bound in full translucent calf vellum with the cover rendered in spirit dyes and acrylic paint on the surface and beneath the vellum. Despite being a contemporary binding, I wanted the design to have the style of an old hand drawn Enclosure map (as Mr Quill might have drawn it), with references from the text included, and showing the past and future lie of the land. The box is lined with purple velvet.

    The design evokes the metaphor of environmental and social change at the root of the novel, a way of life torn apart by lies, greed and strangers by the instigation of land Enclosure, highlighted by the blood spilt in the village and the dark atmosphere that pervades the story.
  • photo: Janie Airey
  • by Jhumpa Lahiri

    bound by STUART BROCKMAN
    Louise Brockman marbled endleaves; gilt edges (solid on all three edges); sewn on four 6mm linen tapes; spine glued and shaped; laminated cushioned boards laced on; multicoloured double endbands; spine lined with unbleached cotton and acid free paper hollow; book covered in full black goatskin; design applied with goatskin onlays, gold and palladium tooling; lettered in gold leaf; book housed in velvet lined quarter leather box lettered in gold to spine.

    The two halves of the design represent the two brothers – Udayan to the right, represented by the red Communist star – (only half the star is present to represent a life cut short), and the US flag, to the left, representing Subhash. They are positioned on opposite sides to represent the distance that grew between the brothers. The title is gold tooled in both the Roman alphabet and Morse code – a hobby the boys shared as children. The entire design is framed by a representation of a chess board – another shared pursuit. The curved lines and onlayed blue circle represent their common heritage (representation of the Indian flag). The four waved lines also represent the four people that link the brothers – their father, mother, wife and (step) daughter. The undulating nature of the lines shows the turmoil in the lives of those individuals caused by the death of the younger brother.
  • photo: Janie Airey
  • by Noviolet Bulawayo

    bound by MARK COCKRAM
    A double board Bradel Binding with a double hollow (2 x 2 Bradel Binding). All leather hand dyed with the back board covered in a delaminated pizza box. Sewn silk end bands with full edge decoration. Hand printed end papers with a coat hanger and lino cut.

    The novel concentrates on the life of Darling, a young girl living in a shanty town. Darling and her friends create new worlds from the detritus around them. Witnessing the often violent struggle of survival in Zimbabwe, families destroyed by AIDS and corruption in all levels of society, she lives with the dream of escaping to another place. When her dream is realised, culminating in her arrival and life in North America, Darling realises that the dream is not all she had hoped for.

    An African mask to the spine of the book is a stylised representation of a screaming mask that Darling and her friends find in the ransacked home of a white African. The front board with its draught board like squares, tears and arrow indicate the struggle of everyday living in Darling's life. The Pop Art inspired back board with its pizza box is intended to show the conspicuous consumption and waste in her new life.
  • photo: Janie Airey

    The 2013 Man Booker Bindings
    click images for details

  • by Ruth Ozeki

    bound by ANGELA JAMES
    Photo-printed tracing paper flyleaves. Leather joints. Sewn on linen tapes, lower boards laced on. Double silk headbands. Grey goatskin spine. Front and back boards covered with airbrushed and hand-painted calf with onlays of printed sheep and goat skin. Inlays set into lower boards seen through cut-outs in upper boards. Tooled and inked horizontal lines. Inlaid red goatskin line across both boards and spine. Grey airbrushed goatskin doublures with back-pared onlays. Red cloth -covered box, blocked with Proust title. Lined with grey suede. (The 'wrong' title is relevant to the book).

    By making the sky the dominant part of the design, I hoped to give a feeling of time and infinite space and the sense that there could be parallel worlds above and beyond our known one. Hence the cut-outs revealing the pilot and temple.
  • photo: Janie Airey
  • by Colm Tóibín

    bound by PETER JONES
    The binding is primarily in semi-transparent vellum over printed words. A wooden cross sits astride the spine of the book, with further timber details at the foredges. The structure was specifically devised for this binding.

    “Though I did not think that the image of the cross could be ignored I did not want it to be too obvious, thus it is only revealed as the book is fully opened. Two versions of the history surrounding the crucifixion are indicated; leading up to and at the event (before the cross, on the front board) the words run normally left to right while after the event (behind the cross, on the back board) the same text is in mirror image. Being unclear which version might represent the true story these words are shown partially obscured by the vellum covering.”
    by Colm Tóibín

    bound by PETER JONES
    The binding is primarily in semi-transparent vellum over printed words. A wooden cross sits astride the spine of the book, with further timber details at the foredges. The structure was specifically devised for this binding.

    “Though I did not think that the image of the cross could be ignored I did not want it to be too obvious, thus it is only revealed as the book is fully opened. Two versions of the history surrounding the crucifixion are indicated; leading up to and at the event (before the cross, on the front board) the words run normally left to right while after the event (behind the cross, on the back board) the same text is in mirror image. Being unclear which version might represent the true story these words are shown partially obscured by the vellum covering.”
  • photo: Janie Airey
  • by Eleanor Catton

    bound by RACHEL WARD-SALE
    During the 19th Century gold rush in New Zealand, thirteen men are connected by a murder, a disappearance and the theft of a fortune in gold ore. Each character adds his part to the narrative until the truth is revealed and the mystery solved.

    As the missing gold and its influence on the characters forms the central plot of the book, it seemed appropriate to use gold leaf as decoration on the binding. Thirteen textured gold squares, connected by a trail of sprinkled gold dust, represent the protagonists and their connection to the stolen gold, firstly as ore hidden in the dresses worn by the local prostitute, then smelted into gold bars. The coiled line of sprinkled gold leaf connects the gold squares, as the stolen gold links the characters in the plot.

    Bound in dark blue goatskin with onlaid squares of impressed gilded leather and lines of sprinkled gold leaf. The doublures, flyleaves and edges have been stippled with blue acrylic paint and sprinkled with gold leaf suggesting the night sky referred to in the book. The double core endbands are sewn with blue and gold thread.
    by Eleanor Catton

    bound by RACHEL WARD-SALE
    During the 19th Century gold rush in New Zealand, thirteen men are connected by a murder, a disappearance and the theft of a fortune in gold ore. Each character adds his part to the narrative until the truth is revealed and the mystery solved.

    As the missing gold and its influence on the characters forms the central plot of the book, it seemed appropriate to use gold leaf as decoration on the binding. Thirteen textured gold squares, connected by a trail of sprinkled gold dust, represent the protagonists and their connection to the stolen gold, firstly as ore hidden in the dresses worn by the local prostitute, then smelted into gold bars. The coiled line of sprinkled gold leaf connects the gold squares, as the stolen gold links the characters in the plot.

    Bound in dark blue goatskin with onlaid squares of impressed gilded leather and lines of sprinkled gold leaf. The doublures, flyleaves and edges have been stippled with blue acrylic paint and sprinkled with gold leaf suggesting the night sky referred to in the book. The double core endbands are sewn with blue and gold thread.
  • photo: Janie Airey
 

In the short period between shortlist announcement and the award ceremony, the binders must read, design and produce a hand bound fine binding, together with a protective container, for presentation to each of the authors. A process which might normally take three to four months or more has to be telescoped into as many weeks, but it is this which makes the commission such an interesting one for those taking part.

There are at least twenty-five stages in the hand binding of a book - from the decoration of the edges of the pages to the final lettering - and the binder will have spent about one hundred and fifty hours on the work by the time of completion. For those involved in this collaboration, the work is most rewarding; an opportunity to read and interpret some of the finest novels of our time, and, of course, it is hoped that the authors will derive as much pleasure from being presented with the finished results.

 

   

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