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Billionaire venture capitalist knight to be new Booker Prize sponsor | Ents & Arts News



A Welsh-born billionaire entrepreneur is to be the new sponsor of the Booker prize.

San Francisco-based Sir Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman will finance the literary award through their charity Crankstart.

It follows last month’s decision by the investment firm Man Group to end its 17-year association with the Booker Prize Foundation.

The new sponsorship deal, which includes the international version of the award, will still support the £50,000 prize, but it will not bear Sir Michael’s name and will in future be know simply as The Booker Prize.

Explaining his decision to sponsor Booker, Sir Michael said reading had enriched the lives of himself and his wife.

“Neither of us can imagine a day where we don’t spend time reading a book,” he said.

“The Booker Prizes are ways of spreading the word about the insights, discoveries, pleasures and joy that spring from great fiction.

“These days I’m a global traveller but, just like The Booker, I was born in Britain and before coming to America was reared on English literature.

“Harriet and I feel fortunate to be able to support prizes that together celebrate the best fiction in the world.”

Sir Michael is reported by Forbes magazine to be worth $3.4bn (£2.5bn) and works for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, while his wife is a journalist and novelist.

They set up Crankstart in 2000 to help students from low-income backgrounds go to university.

Sir Michael Moritz is said to be worth more than $3bn
Sir Michael Moritz is said to be worth more than $3bn

Announcing the new sponsorship deal, chair of the Booker trustees, Helena Kennedy said: “Thanks to Crankstart, we will be able to continue the charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, working with (among others) the National Literacy Trust in prisons, with RNIB to make the shortlist accessible to blind and partially sighted readers, and in universities around the UK.”

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