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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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January 30, 2013

Man Booker International prize 2013 reveals shortlist

HomeMarilynne Robinson heads multinational list that includes books in French, German, Hebrew and Kannada.

By Richard Lea

After withdrawals and walkouts at its last outing in 2011, the biennial Man Booker International prize is hoping calm will return with a globetrotting list of 10 finalists for the 2013 award, headed by the American novelist Marilynne Robinson.

Robinson, who was shortlisted for the 2011 award, is one of only three authors writing in English on a shortlist for the £60,000 prize. The rest of the field brings together novelists from around the world and includes writing translated from French, German, Hebrew and Kannada. She is also one of just three women on the list, along with the American writer Lydia Davis and the French novelist Marie NDiaye. Two of the authors, China’s Yan Lianke and Russia’s Vladimir Sorokin, have been censored in their home countries.

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June 29, 2011

Roth awarded Man Booker International Prize

29.06.11 | Graeme Neill

Philip Roth was honoured as the winner of The Man Booker International Prize 2011 in London last night (28th June), but controversy over his win continued.

Roth was unable to attend but the prize was accepted by the author and academic Hermione Lee at an awards dinner held at Banqueting House, Whitehall. The awarding of the prize to the Nemesis author lead to the publisher, writer and critic Carmen Callil withdrawing in protest earlier this year.

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May 19, 2011

Judge withdraws over Philip Roth’s Booker win

'Emperor's clothes' ... Philip Roth (left), in the opinion of Carmen Callil (right). Photograph: Reuters/Rex

Carmen Callil retires from panel after decision to give award to writer whose work she considers a case of ‘Emperor’s clothes’.

By Alison Flood

Author and publisher Carmen Callil has withdrawn from the judging panel of the Man Booker International prize over its decision to honour Philip Roth with the £60,000 award. Dismissing the Pulitzer prize-winning author, Callil said that “he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It’s as though he’s sitting on your face and you can’t breathe”.

One of three judges on the panel for the literary award, alongside rare book dealer and author Rick Gekoski, who acted as chair, and novelist Justin Cartwright, this morning Callil revealed that, after the decision was made to give the prize to Roth from a shortlist which also featured Philip Pullman, Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson, she decided to retire from the panel.

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