Readersforum's Blog

May 23, 2013

Man Booker International prize goes to (very) short-story writer Lydia Davis

Lydia DavisStories by much-acclaimed American writer, some just a sentence long, praised for vigilance ‘down to the very word’.

By Alison Flood

The impossible-to-categorise Lydia Davis, known for the shortest of short stories, has won the Man Booker International prize ahead of fellow American Marilynne Robinson and eight other contenders from around the world.

The £60,000 award is for a body of work, and is intended to celebrate “achievement in fiction on the world stage”. Cited as “innovative and influential”, Davis becomes the biennial prize’s third successive winner from North America, after fellow American Philip Roth won in 2011 – prompting a controversial walk-out from the judge Carmen Callil, partly over her disappointment in the panel’s failure to choose a writer in translation – and Canadian short story writer Alice Munro took the prize in 2009.

Best known for her short stories, most of which are less than three pages long, and some of which run to just a paragraph or a sentence, Davis has been described as “the master of a literary form largely of her own invention”.

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April 29, 2013

Two for Harvill on Indy shortlist

iffp_logo | By Joshua Farrington

Two titles from Harvill Secker have been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer is in the running alongside Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean.

Indies make up the rest of the shortlist, with Trieste by Daša Drndic, translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac (Maclehose Press); Bundu by Chris Barnard, translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns (Alma Books); The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare, translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson (Canongate); and Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia (Pushkin Press).

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August 24, 2012

Haruki Murakami leads race for Nobel prize for literature

Big outside Japan … Haruki Murakami has been installed as favourite for the 2012 Nobel prize for literature. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

Ladbrokes gives Japanese novelist odds of 10/1, ahead of Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom and Mo Yan of China on 12/1.

By Alison Flood

The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has emerged as the early favourite to win this year’s Nobel prize for literature.

The acclaimed author of titles including Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and, most recently, IQ84, Murakami has been given odds of 10/1 to win the Nobel by Ladbrokes.

Last year the eventual winner of the award, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was the betting firm’s second favourite to take the prize, given initial odds of 9/2 behind the Syrian poet Adonis, at 4/1. This year Adonis has slipped down the list, given odds of 14/1 alongside the Korean poet Ko Un and the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.

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April 21, 2011

The damnable task of being a Man Booker International prize judge

The inaugural Man Booker International prize, awarded in 2005, was won by Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Deciding which living literary great to honour for their body of work is overwhelming, akin to ‘sizing up the giants and arranging them in order’.

By Rick Gekoski

Since January 2010, Carmen Callil, Justin Cartwright and I have been reading for the 2011 Man Booker International prize. Never heard of it? Well, it only began in 2005, so let me fill you in. The prize is awarded every two years to a living author, is worth £60,000, the winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel, there are no submissions from publishers and the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.

This provides a beguilingly open-ended brief. It is up to us judges whom to read, what to read, and how to read, until one day a puff of smoke will go up (in Sydney on 18 May) and a great writer will be honoured. The three previous winners were Ismail Kadaré, Chinua Achebe, and Alice Munro.

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