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 Richard Flanagan

    bound by Sue Doggett
    To remember is to succumb to the chimeric nature of memory. Nothing is lost. There is no past, no present and no future. Every event leaves a trace or a scar on the psyche, just as the Line is a scar; a wound on the landscape and in the memory of the survivors. “The Line was broken, as all lines finally are; and it was all for nothing, and of it nothing remained. People kept longing for meaning and hope, but the annals of the past are a muddy story of chaos only. And of that colossal ruin, boundless and buried, the lone and level jungle stretched far away. Of Imperial dreams and dead men, all that remained was long grass” (p.63). Whatever control we feel that we exert over our own lives is also a dream; an illusion. “Shafts of late afternoon light to reveal as the real world — of flying particles wildly spinning, shimmering, randomly bouncing into each other and heading off into entirely new directions” (p.65). Significant events in our lives stay with us forever, connecting us to a fixed point in time which we cannot retrieve but fill us with longing. We cannot settle where our heart is not.

    My purpose holds,
    To sail beyond the sunset and the baths
    Of all the Western stars until I die

    (p.11)

    Resist dyed goatskin painted with acrylic and watercolour over sculpted boards. Machine stitching through the leather and appliquéd calico with hand-sewn details. Tongue-in-slot structure with grey goatskin joints. Edges are coloured with graphite. Endpapers and doublures are hand-painted and printed with watercolour and acrylic on paper.
  • by Karen Joy Fowler

    bound by Annette Friedrich
    White alum tawed full leather binding. Rough cut sections. Hand dyed flyleaves. Leather joints. Green handsewn silk headbands. Foil tooling on both boards: dark purple marks emulating scripture imbedded on raised lines of knots, and spatial lines in three shades of silver. Title tooled on spine.

    Rosemary had a sister, Fern, her whirlwind other half, who vanished from her life when both were five. Looking back Rosie chooses to tell her compelling story in loops, each time adding to and shifting her focus.

    My overall design addresses the layering of narrative that unites in a whole. The scriptural elements run horizontally over the boards, whilst the silver lines follow the texture of the deep-grained leather.
  • by Ali Smith

    bound by Derek Hood
    The book is a ‘dos a dos’ binding covered in deep blue goatskin and natural calfskin. Multiple onlays and underlays are used with printed sections of Francesco del Cossa’s painting ‘Allegory of March’ being visible underneath.

    The cut away design echoes the layers of the fresco painting technique and also the many layers of the narrative. The technique of under painting (sinopia) is emulated by the use of brick red lines of recessed onlays.

    The calligraphic fragments are reverse transfer printed calfskin taken from the letter written by del Cossa asking for a better rate of pay from the Duke of Ferrara.

    The two pixilated characters echo the imagery of 1470 as viewed through a modern, digital medium.
  • by Ali Smith

    bound by Derek Hood
    The book is a ‘dos a dos’ binding covered in deep blue goatskin and natural calfskin. Multiple onlays and underlays are used with printed sections of Francesco del Cossa’s painting ‘Allegory of March’ being visible underneath.

    The cut away design echoes the layers of the fresco painting technique and also the many layers of the narrative. The technique of under painting (sinopia) is emulated by the use of brick red lines of recessed onlays.

    The calligraphic fragments are reverse transfer printed calfskin taken from the letter written by del Cossa asking for a better rate of pay from the Duke of Ferrara.

    The two pixilated characters echo the imagery of 1470 as viewed through a modern, digital medium.

    The 2014 Man Booker Bindings
    click images for details

  • by Neel Mukherjee

    bound by Tom McEwan
    The design of the binding is based on the various threads of conflict, turbulence and tension that run through the book. The design also contains references to the architecture and cityscape of Calcutta. Covering leather, doublures, and inlays are hand-dyed goatskin with line and textured decoration of gold leaf and foil.
  • by Howard Jacobson

    bound by David Sellars
    Sewn on four linen tapes, sandwiched between laminated millboard. Graphite edges. Sewn double headbands. Final leaves of book part-painted with acrylic ink. Full bound in goatskin. Raised onlaid areas. Transfer print and ink drawing. Blind and black tooling. Suede doublures.

    As usual in my work, an attempt to convey my rereading and response to the novel. The title itself is, unusually, an important element, as is an event that ‘may have happened’. As in some other dystopian novels, the characters seem to be acting in a placid day-to-day existence. However, under the surface there are acts of violence, the red mist of anger. The profiles and suminagashi lines are an attempt to underline this in the everyday movement of characters.
  • by Joshua Ferris

    bound by Julian Thomas
    The narrator, an insomniac and nihilistic Park Avenue dentist’s view of the world is represented by a silhouette of black skyscrapers, interspersed by white teeth edged by puckered leather suggesting decay. The lines of white gold are a reference to the narrator’s obsessive endorsement of flossing and the pattern created by these lines include the Star of David and the Christian Cross and allude to the theological dilemmas raised in the book.
 

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.

 

   
Designer Bookbinders