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Billionaire venture capitalist announced as new Booker Prize sponsor

Sir Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman have been unveiled as the new sponsors of the Booker Prize (Booker Prize Foundation/PA)
Sir Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman have been unveiled as the new sponsors of the Booker Prize (Booker Prize Foundation/PA)

A billionaire venture capitalist is the new Booker Prize sponsor, organisers have said.

Crankstart, a charity run by Welsh-born entrepreneur Sir Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman, will sponsor the prestigious literary award.

The Booker Prize Foundation said there are no plans to change the £50,000 winnings and it will not bear the name of Sir Michael.

Instead, after 18 years as the Man Booker Prize, it will be known as The Booker Prize after June 1 this year.

2018 Man Booker Prize
Anna Burns won last year’s Booker Prize for her novel Milkman (Frank Augstein/PA)

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

San Francisco-based Sir Michael is worth 3.4 billion US dollars (£2.5 billion) according to Forbes magazine.

He works for Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital while his wife is a journalist and novelist.

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

Last year’s Book Prize was won by Belfast writer Anna Burns for Milkman. Sir Michael will also support the International Booker Prize.

Helena Kennedy, chair of the trustees, 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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