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The Man Booker International Prize Finalists Announced

The Man Booker International Prize Finalists Announced

Jaipur, India

Thursday 24 January 2013




Finalists’ List Announced

Ten writers are on the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the fifth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.

- The authors come from nine countries with a Swiss writer included on the list for the first time

- Marilynne Robinson is the only writer to have appeared on a previous list of finalists, in 2011

- Marie NDiaye, at 45, is the youngest author ever to be a Man Booker International nominee

- Yan Lianke and Vladimir Sorokin have both had books banned in their home countries of China and Russia

- The Kannada language is represented with the inclusion of Indian writer, U.R. Ananthamurthy

The finalists’ list is announced by the chair of judges, Sir Christopher Ricks, at a press conference hosted at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival in India, today, Thursday 24 January, 2013

The ten authors on the list are:

  • U.R. Ananthamurthy (India)

  • Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)

  • Lydia Davis (USA)

  • Intizar Husain (Pakistan)

  • Yan Lianke (China)

  • Marie NDiaye (France)

  • Josip Novakovich (Canada)

  • Marilynne Robinson (USA)

  • Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)

  • Peter Stamm (Switzerland)


The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2013 consists of the scholar and literary critic, Sir Christopher Ricks (Chair); author and essayist, Elif Batuman; writer and broadcaster, Aminatta Forna; novelist, Yiyun Li and author and academic, Tim Parks.

Announcing the list, Christopher Ricks comments: ‘Each is the author of a substantial body of published work, whether novels or short stories, either written in or translated into English. Some of these men and women are in their eighties, the youngest in their forties and fifties. They write in ways that are astonishingly different.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded 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.  Philip Roth won the prize in 2011, Alice Munro in 2009, Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Ismail Kadaré won the inaugural prize in 2005.  In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 22 May.

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 in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.  Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.

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Notes to Editors:

The winner of the Man Booker International Prize is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers.  An author can only win the award once.  In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable and in accordance with the rules of the separate prize for translation, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor of The Economist. Ion Trewin is Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation.

Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides administrative back-up. Photographs of the judges are available from Four Colman Getty.

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

The Booker Prize Foundation 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, Chair (Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; James Daunt,  Managing Director of Waterstones; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers

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; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents

Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. It has expertise in a wide range of liquid investment styles including managed futures, equity, credit and convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager, combined with powerful product structuring, distribution and client service capabilities. As of September 30 2012, Man managed $60 billion.

The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £ 1.5 billion. Man is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at

Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide.  It serves over 350,000 independent businesses.

The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival is the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific, and the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India. It encompasses a range of readings, talks, debates, performances, children’s workshops and interactive activities held in the beautiful heritage property, Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital of Jaipur. Entering its sixth year, JLF is now regarded as the Kumbh Mela of Indian and international writing, drawing in writers and readers from across India and the wider world: from America, Europe, Africa and from across the breadth of South Asia, the brightest, most brilliant, funny, moving and remarkable authors come to Jaipur every January.  The Directors of festival are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the 2013 festival runs from 24th to 28th January.


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The Judges’ List of Finalists for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize

Please note that the following information is derived from secondary sources and should be checked for accuracy.

U.R. Ananthamurthy

U.R. Ananthamurthy has just celebrated his 80th birthday, having been born in the village of Melige in Mysore on December 21st 1932.  He is one of the most important representatives of the “Navya” or “New Movement” in the literature of the Kannada language, which is spoken by about 50 million people in India and elsewhere, including in Mauritius, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Ananthamurthy grew up a “Gandhian socialist”. He read English literature at the University of Mysore and earned his doctorate from the University of Birmingham, England, with a thesis entitled, “Politics and Fiction in the 1930s”

He has published five novels, one play, eight short-story collections, three collections of poetry and eight more of essays, and his works have been translated into several Indian and European languages.

His work is known for its humanity and its courage in questioning cultural norms. Best known is his 1966 novel, Samskara, a story that asks: Can culture survive only if it is followed with blind fervour? Latest to be honoured was his novel, Bharatipura, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Hindu Literary prize and for last year’s DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Novelist and literary critic, Chandrahas Choudhury, writing in the Wall Street Journal that same year, said that the power of Ananthamurthy’s fiction “resides in the way its universal ideas are worked out through the frame of the local.”

Among his works of fiction are:

Samskara (1965, published in English in 1976)

Bharathipura (1973, published in English in 2010)

Bhava (1994, published in English in 1998)

Stallion of the Sun (1995, published in English 1998)

U.R. Ananthamurthy lives in Bangalore, India.

Publisher: Oxford University Press, India.

Aharon Appelfeld

Aharon Appelfeld is 80 years old.  He was born on February 16th 1932 in a small town called Zhadova, near Czernowitz, in what was then Romania and is now Ukraine.

In 1941, when he was eight years old, the Nazi-allied Romanian army invaded his hometown and his mother was murdered. He was deported with his father to a German concentration camp, from which he escaped and hid for three years, before joining the Soviet Army in which he worked as a cook. After the war he spent several months in a displaced persons’ camp in Italy before emigrating to Palestine in 1946, two years before Israel’s independence. Only in the 1950s did he realise that his father had survived the war. Their reunion, after a separation of 20 years, was so emotional he has never been able to write about it.

He writes fiction in Hebrew, although he did not learn the language until he was in his teens. Most of his work focuses on Jewish life in Europe before, during and after World War II, but it is not simple autobiography. Silence, muteness and stuttering enforce his work, most notably Badenheim 1939, and disability is often a source of strength. The precision and conciseness of the Hebrew language suit his clear and modernistic style. Philip Roth, writing in the New York Times  in 1988, described him as a “displaced writer of displaced fiction, who has made displacement and disorientation a subject uniquely his own.”

Among his works of fiction are:

Badenheim 1939 (1978, published in English in 1980)

Until the Dawn’s Light (1995, published in English in 2011)

Blooms of Darkness (2006, published in English in 2010)

Aharon Appelfeld lives in Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem.

Publisher: Alma Books

Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is an American writer who was born in Massachusetts in 1947 and is now a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany, the capital of New York state.

She is best known for two contrasting accomplishments: translating from the French, to great acclaim, Marcel Proust’s complex Du Côté de Chez Swann (Swann’s Way) and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and writing short stories, a number of them among the shortest stories ever written. Much of her fiction may be seen under the aspect of philosophy or poetry or short story, and even the longer creations may be as succinct as two or three pages.

She has been described by the critic, James Wood in his latest collection, The Fun Stuff and Other Essays, as “a tempestuous Thomas Bernhard”. Most of all, as Craig Morgan Teicher, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote in 2009, the year that Davis’s Collected Stories appeared as a single volume: She is “the master of a literary form largely of her own invention.”

Among her works of fiction are:

The End of the Story (1995)

The Collected Stories (2009)

Lydia Davis lives in New York.

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Books.

Intizar Husain

Intizar Husain was born in India before partition in Uttar Pradesh, on December 7th 1923. He emigrated to Pakistan in 1947 and lives in Lahore.

He gained a master’s degree in Urdu and another in English literature. The author of short stories and novels, he has worked as a journalist and columnist for the Pakistan Times and the Urdu daily, Firoze. A chronicler of change, Husain has written three novels and four collections of short stories that have all been translated into English.

Naya Gar (The New House) paints a picture of Pakistan during the ten-year dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq. Agay Sumandar Hai (Beyond is the Sea) contrasts the spiralling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus, in modern Spain.

Basti, his 1979 novel, which traces the psychic history of Pakistan through the life of one man, Zakir, has just been republished as one of the New York Review of Books Classics.  Keki Daruwalla, writing in The Hindu in 2003, said “Intizar Husain’s stories often tread that twilight zone between fable and parable. And the narrative is spun on an oriental loom.”

Among his works of fiction are:

Basti (1979, published in English in 2007)

The Seventh Door and Other Stories (published in English in 1997)

Circle and Other Stories (published in English in 2004)

Intizar Husain lives in Lahore, Pakistan.

Publisher: Oxford University Press, India.

Yan Lianke

The Chinese writer, Yan Lianke, lives in Beijing but says his heart belongs in central Henan province, where he was born in 1958.

Over a 30-year career, he has not only been translated and honoured abroad, he has also won two of China’s top literary awards, the Lu Xun Literary Prize and the Lao She Literary Award.

Born into a poor family, he began writing fiction at the same time as he joined the Chinese army at the age of 20. His first novel, called The Sun Goes Down in an unofficial English translation, was about two soldier-heroes who destroy their reputations and the friendship between them when they blame each other for the suicide of a young army cook.

To Serve the People, which might bring to mind D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, is about a young woman who takes an older lover who can be aroused only when she smashes portraits and statues of Chairman Mao. Dream of Ding Village exposes the AIDS blood-contamination in Henan province. Both books were banned.

Dream of Ding Village was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asia Literary Prize and the 2012  Independent Foreign Fiction Award. Reviewing it for the Independent, Clarissa Sebag Montefiore described it as a “giddily surreal and ultimately nihilistic depiction of a society.”

Among his works of fiction are:

Xia Ri Luo (2001, published in English in 2002)

To Serve the People (2005, published in English in 2008)

Dream of Ding Village (2005, published in English in 2011)

Lenin’s Kisses (2004, published in English in 2012)  

Yan Lianke lives in Beijing, China.

Publisher: Constable and Robinson, London.

Marie NDiaye

Marie NDiaye, born on June 4th 1967, is a French novelist and playwright. Her father, who was Senegalese, returned to Africa when she was a baby, and she was raised by her French mother, a secondary-school science teacher, in a town called Pithiviers, south of Paris.

She began writing at the age of 12. Her first novel, Quant au Riche Avenir (Regarding the Rich Future) was published when she was 18 by Jérôme Lindon, who had been Samuel Beckett’s great champion. Rosie Carpe (2001) won the Prix Femina, and Papa Doit Manger (Daddy’s Got To Eat), a play she wrote ten years ago, was only the second play by a woman to be taken into the repertoire of the Comédie Française.

Her most recent novel, translated into English as Three Strong Women and published in the summer of 2012, won France’s most respected literary prize, the Prix Goncourt in 2009. Fernanda Eberstadt in the New York Times described it as “the poised creation of a novelist unafraid to explore the extremes of human suffering”, and said that NDiaye is “a hypnotic storyteller with an unflinching understanding of the rock-bottom reality of most people’s lives.”

Among her works of fiction are:

Among Family (1991, published in English in 1997)

Rosie Carpe (2001, published in English in 2004)

Three Strong Women (2009, published in English in 2012)  

Marie NDiaye lives in Berlin.

Publisher: Maclehose Press.

Josip Novakovich

Josip Novakovich, a short-story writer, novelist and writer of narrative essays, was born in 1956 what is now Croatia and grew up under the authoritarian rule of Marshal Tito near the Hungarian border in the central Croatian town of Daruvar. He studied medicine in Serbia, and then moved to America, where his mother had been born, and continued his studies, in psychology and then in creative writing, at Vassar College and at Yale. He lives in Montreal, where he teaches creative writing at Concordia University, and he has recently taken Canadian citizenship.

His three short-story collections, Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters and Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, all contain work that is darkly comic. He is known in particular for his depiction of violence, and for his writing about the Yugoslav war and its atrocities. His writing has been notably published in America, and Keith Botsford in The Republic of Letters praised him for “an economy of style and narrative that all good readers will relish.”

Among his works of fiction are:

Yolk (1995, published in English in 1996)

Salvation and Other Disasters (1995, published in English in 1998)

April Fools Day (2004, published in English in 2005)

Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust (2005, published in English the same year)

Josip Novakovich lives in Montreal, Canada.

Publisher: Harper / Duckworth.

Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is an American novelist and essayist who lives and teaches in Iowa, and was born on November 26th 1943. She has written three novels, each of them being immediately and highly acclaimed

Housekeeping, which came out in 1980, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Gilead, her second novel, won the Pultizer.  Her latest work, Home, won the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction

She was raised as a Presbyterian and describes herself as a liberal Protestant. Her interest in the ideas of the 16th-century French theologian and pastor, John Calvin, permeates her writing.  Set in the 1950s, Gilead features a Protestant minister named John Ames, who – aware of his imminent demise – writes a long letter to his seven-year-old son, which is presented as a series of diary entries: homilies about home, religious exercise and naturalism.

Writing of Gilead in the Sunday Telegraph, Jane Shilling said, “The cadences of Robinson’s prose have a resonant authority more like that of great music than language.

Among her works of fiction are:

Housekeeping (1980)

Gilead (2004)

Home (2008)

Marilynne Robinson lives in Iowa City, USA.

Publisher: Virago.

Vladimir Sorokin

Vladimir Sorokin, who was born on August 7th 1955, is a post-modern Russian storyteller and dramatist and one of the most popular writers in contemporary Russian literature, famous for The Ice Trilogy.

Having grown up in Moscow, he studied at the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas and graduated as an engineer. He moved into illustrating books, and his development as a writer took place among the artists and writers of the Moscow underground scene of the 1980s. His early works were banned during the Soviet period, but in 2001 he won the Russian Booker prize.

His work has been translated into about 20 languages. His best known book in English is Days of the Oprichnik, which is set in Moscow in 2028, when the city has been sealed off from Europe by a Great Wall and is ruled by a latterday Ivan the Terrible, who is protected by “oprichniki”, the black-clad secret police whose main job is eliminating Ivan’s enemies. A workaday tale of rape, arson and murder, it was described by Stephen Kotkin in the New York Times Book Review as coming “across almost as extended performance art in its evocative rituals and bizarreness.”

Among his works of fiction are:

The Ice Trilogy (2006, published in English in 2011), comprising:

            Ice (2002)

            Bro (2004)

            23,000 (2005)

Day of the Oprichnik (2006, published in English in 2011)

Vladimir Sorokin lives in Moscow.

Publisher: New York Review of Books

Peter Stamm

Peter Stamm is a Swiss novelist, short-story writer and radio dramatist, who prefers to write in German rather than in his native Schweizerdeutsch, which he speaks at home.  He has just turned 50, having been born on January 18th 1963. Like his father, he studied accountancy and worked for five years as an accountant. And although he has long since left that world, his characters, the New York Times once noted, “often act and think like book-keepers, calculating their experiences in terms of ratios and costs, gains and losses.”

His cool and sparse writing style has been translated into English by Michael Hofmann. His best-known books are Unformed Landscape and, more recently, Seven Years.

“Peter Stamm’s talent is palpable,” said the reviewer, Sarah Fay, in the New York Times. “But what makes him a writer to read, and read often, is the way he renders contemporary life as a series of ruptures. Never entirely sure of their position, his characters engage in a constant effort to establish their equilibrium.”

Among his works of fiction are:

On a Day Like This (2006, published in English in 2008)

Unformed landscape (2001, published in English in 2005)

We’re Flying (2008, published in English in 2012)

Seven Years (2009, published in English in 2011)

Peter Stamm lives in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Publisher: Granta

The Judges

Sir Christopher Ricks (Chair)

Sir Christopher Ricks is Warren Professor of the Humanities and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, having formerly been professor of English at the University of Bristol and at Cambridge. He was the Professor of Poetry at Oxford, 2004-09. A member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, he was its president, 2007-08. Whereas most of his work as a critic and editor has been devoted to poetry (Milton, Tennyson, Keats, T.S. Eliot, Bob Dylan, The Oxford Book of English Verse and most recently The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse), Sir Christopher has also turned his attention to fiction in his book, Beckett’s Dying Words; in editing Samuel Beckett’s The Expelled / The Calmative / The End / First  Love and Henry James’s What Maisie Knew; and in a collection of his essays on the novel from Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Henry James, through to Ernest Hemingway, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Christina Stead, Brian Moore, Kingsley Amis, V.S. Naipaul and Ian McEwan.  A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement, Sir Christopher has reviewed fiction from France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada and South Africa.

Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman was born in New York and lives in Istanbul, where she is writer-in-residence at Koç University. She has been a regular contributor to the New Yorker   since 2006, and holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. Her first book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (2010), was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and a runner-up for a PEN/ Diamondstein-Spielvogel Award. It was also longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Her essays, articles and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, the Guardian, Harper’s and n+1.

Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna is a writer. She was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and spent periods of her childhood in Zambia, Iran and Thailand. She holds dual British and Sierra Leonian nationality. Her most recent novel, The Memory of Love, was winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award 2011 and shortlisted for the Orange Prize and Warwick Prize. The Devil that Danced on the Water, a memoir of her dissident father and Sierra Leone was shortlisted for the 2003 Samuel Johnson Prize and her first novel, Ancestor Stones, was winner of the 2007 German Liberaturpreis, the Hurston Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction 2007 and the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize 2010 in the US. A short story, ‘Hayward’s Heath’ was short-listed for the BBC National Short Story Award 2010.

Between 1989 and 1999 Ms Forna worked for BBC Television as a reporter and film maker in the spheres of art and politics, including on The Late Show. She has filmed a number of documentaries in Africa: Through African Eyes, the series Africa Unmasked and most recently The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu. She is a regular guest and occasional host of BBC Radio’s Open Book and Saturday Review and other BBC radio arts programmes.

Ms Forna sits on the Advisory Board of the Caine Prize for African Writing and the Royal Literary Fund. She is currently Sterling Brown Visiting Professor of African Literature at Williams College, Massachusetts.

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing and emigrated to the United States after university to study medical science. She started writing in English, her second language, in her late twenties, and has since published three books to critical acclaim. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, among others. Her novel, The Vagrants, was shortlisted for IMPAC Dublin Award. Her recent collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist of the Story Prize. She was selected by Granta as one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35, and was named by the New Yorker as one of the top 20 US writers under 40.  The MacArthur Foundation named her a 2010 fellow.

Tim Parks

Born in Manchester in 1954, Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard before moving permanently to Italy in 1981. Author of three bestselling books on Italy, and fourteen novels, including the Booker short-listed Europa, he has translated works by  Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso and, most recently, Niccolò  Machiavelli. In addition to running a post-graduate degree course in translation at IULM University, Milan, he writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. His non-fiction works include Translating Style, a literary approach to translation problems, Medici Money, an account of the relation between banking, the Church and art in the 15th century, and, most recently, Teach Us to Sit Still, which was described by David Lodge as: “A searingly honest, viscerally vivid, darkly comic self-examination of the connections between writing, personality and health”.





Four Colman Getty

January 2013