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Man Booker International Judges Announced

Man Booker International Judges Announced

Judging panel for 2009 announced

The judging panel of the Man Booker International Prize is announced today, Wednesday 19 March, 2008. Chaired by writer Jane Smiley, this eminent international panel consists of writer, academic and musician, Amit Chaudhuri, and writer, film script writer, and essayist, Andrey Kurkov.

Fiammetta Rocco, administrator of the prize, comments:

Each of our three judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2009 is expert on a vastly different area of world literature. Knowledgeable as writers as well as readers, they will together bring a high degree of excellence, enthusiasm and experience to the task ahead.

The Man Booker International Prize recognizes one writer for their achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000 to the winner, the prize is awarded once every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers. Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, won the 2007 prize and Albanian writer, Ismail Kadare won the inaugural prize in 2005 and went on to gain worldwide recognition for his work. In addition, there is a separate prize for translation and, if applicable, the winner can choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The judges’ list of contenders, approximately fifteen writers under serious consideration for the prize, will be announced in New York in early spring 2009. The winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2009 will be announced in early summer 2009. The prize will be presented at an awards ceremony, shortly after the winner is announced.

The prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlights one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In seeking out literary excellence the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.

For up-to-date information and photographs of the judging panel, please visit or contact Mark Hutchinson at Colman Getty on 020 7631 2666 or

The Judges

Jane Smiley (Chair)

Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in St Louis, Missouri. She was educated at Vassar College, receiving her B.A. degree in 1971, and at the University of Iowa, from which she received her M.A. degree in 1975, her M.F.A. degree in 1976, and her PhD in 1978. In 1981 Smiley began teaching at Iowa State University. Smiley’s first novel, Barn Blind (1980), tells the story of a severe mother who alienates her husband and children after one of her sons dies in a horseback riding accident. A later novel, The Greenlanders (1988), about a curse that afflicts several generations of a 14th-century Scandinavian family, reflects Smiley’s training as a scholar of medieval literature. Two collections of her shorter fiction have also been published: The Age of Grief (1987) and Ordinary Love and Good Will (1989). In 1992 she won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres (1991), for which she also won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in 1992. Her other novels include Moo (1995), The All True Travels and Adventures of Liddie Newton (1998), Horse Heaven (2000), which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and Good Faith (2003). In 2004, her non-fiction book about owning and racing horses, A Year at the Races, was published followed in 2006 by Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. In 2006 Jane Smiley was awarded the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. Smiley’s most recent novel, Ten Days in the Hills, was published to great acclaim in 2007

Amit Chaudhuri

Amit Chaudhuri is an internationally acclaimed author (‘one of his generation’s best writers’, the Guardian; ‘one of the most versatile and talented writers of his generation’, the Village Voice), and his books are published in more than twelve countries. He has won several prizes for his fiction, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Betty Trask award, the Encore Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Indian government’s Sahitya Akademi award. The omnibus edition of his first three novels, Freedom Song: Three Novels, was an independent bookshop bestseller in America, as well as one of the New York Public Library’s 25 Books to Remember 2000. He was one of the Observer’s Twenty One Writers for the Millennium. He has taught at Cambridge University, Columbia University, Free University, Berlin, and is now Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia.

Chaudhuri is also a critic of distinction; his study of D H Lawrence’s poetry was described as ‘genuinely groundbreaking’ by Terry Eagleton, and ‘a classic’ by Tom Paulin. He is the editor of the influential Picador and Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. His collection of critical essays, Clearing a Space, will be published in May 2008.

Andrey Kurkov

Andrey Kurkov is a novelist, film script writer, and essayist. Born in Leningrad in 1961 he now lives in Kiev with his wife and three children. Having graduated from the Kiev State Institute of Foreign Languages, he worked for some time as a journalist, did his military service as a prison warder at Odessa, then became a film cameraman, writer of screenplays and author of critically acclaimed and popular novels.

He is the author of 14 novels and five children’s books. His novels have been translated into 32 languages and include: Death and the Penguin, Penguin Lost, A Matter of Death and Life, The Case of the General’s Thumb, The World of Mr Bickford, and The President’s Last Love. His books for children include, The Adventures of Baby Vacuum Cleaner Gosha.

Having studied Japanese at the Institute, Kurkov also gives readings and lectures in English, German, French, Ukrainian and Russian and has been a visiting lecturer at universities in the Ukraine and Canada. He has facilitated translation workshops for the University of East Anglia, and was coordinator for the Festival of Contemporary German Literature for the Goethe Institute, Ukraine. He is an advocate of new Ukrainian literature and organises literary festivals and bookfairs in small towns across the country. In 2005 he was a member of the Jury of the International Berlin Film Festival.

In May 2008 he will be Writer in Residence at Innsbruck University, Austria.


The Man Booker International Prize is unique in the world of literature in that it can be won by an author of any nationality, providing that his or her work is available in the English language. It is awarded every second year. An author can only win the award once.

In accordance with the rules of the separate prize for translation, if applicable the winner can choose a translator or translators of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The Administrators of the Man Booker International Prize are Fiammetta Rocco and Ion Trewin – also Administrator of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Photographs of the judges are available from Colman Getty.

Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides administrative back-up.

The Man Booker International Prize website includes detailed information about all aspects of the prize and will run regular news bulletins and features:

The Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all sides of the book world. Its members are: Ion Trewin (Administrator, Man Booker Prizes); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary, Booker Ltd; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man Group plc; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Victoria Glendinning, writer; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Gerry Johnson, Managing Director, Waterstone’s; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); Robert Topping (independent bookseller); and Erica Wagner, literary editor, The Times

The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; former Man Booker Prize administrator, Martyn Goff CBE; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; writer, Baroness Neuberger DBE; MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce

Man Group plc is a leading global provider of alternative investment products and solutions for private and institutional investors worldwide, designed to deliver absolute returns with low correlation to equity and bond market benchmarks. Man has a 20-year track record in this field supported by strong development and structuring skills, and an extensive investor service and global distribution network. The Group employs 1,600 people in 13 countries, with key centres in London and Pfäffikon, and offices in Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Montevideo, Nassau, New York, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EMG) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Further information on the Man Group can be found at and

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