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The Man Booker International Prize 2016: Judging Panel Announced

The Man Booker International Prize 2016: Judging Panel Announced

For release: 00.01 BST 25 August 2015

The Man Booker International Prize 2016

Translated Fiction at its Finest

Judging Panel Announced

The judges for the newly configured 2016 Man Booker International Prize are announced today, 25 August, 2015. 

Chaired by Boyd Tonkin, Senior Writer at The Independent, the panel consists of: anthropologist and novelist Tahmima Anam; academic David Bellos, who is currently Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University; editor and academic Daniel Medin, who holds a comparative literature professorship at the American University of Paris (AUP) and prize-winning British poet and author Ruth Padel.

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the prize, comments: 

‘The judges of the Man Booker International Prize 2016 together have a diverse and unparalleled knowledge of international literature. Encompassing award-winning writers, translators and editors themselves, their enthusiasm and expertise will ensure that our newly configured prize recognises the very best of translated fiction.’

2016 will be the first year that the Man Booker International Prize will be awarded in its new form.

Announced in July, the Man Booker International Prize has now joined forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP), bringing the best of the IFFP to the new venture. The newly evolved prize has been designed to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation. Its configuration also gives greater recognition to the role of translators.

As from 2016, the prize will be awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK, rather than every two years for a body of work. Both novels and collections of short stories are eligible. In addition, the work of translators will now be directly rewarded, with the new £50,000 prize being divided equally between the author and the translator of the winning entry.

The Man Booker International Prize in its new form will continue to uphold its well-established reputation as a leading accolade in world literature.

The judges will select a longlist of 12 or 13 books in March 2016, followed by a shortlist of six books in April 2016. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in May 2016.

The Prize is sponsored by Man Group, one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest in modern literature.

The Judges

Boyd Tonkin (Chair)

Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer at The Independent, and until November 2013 was the newspaper’s Literary Editor. He studied English and French literature at Cambridge University, and taught literature in higher education before becoming an award-winning magazine journalist, and freelance writer and interviewer for The Observer. He became Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman, and then the magazine’s Literary Editor, before moving to The Independent. He has reported on literary and artistic issues from more than 30 countries on five continents, has been an invited speaker at festivals and conferences around the world, and his cultural essays have been published widely in books and journals. He re-founded and judged the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2001-2015), and has also judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the David Cohen Prize, and the Prix Cevennes in France. He is also a member of the Council of the Orwell Prize.

Tahmima Anam

Tahmima Anam is an anthropologist and novelist. Her debut novel, A Golden Age, was the winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 2008. In 2013, she was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.  Her writing has appeared in the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Independent and she is a Contributing Opinion Writer for the International New York Times.  Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University, and now lives in Hackney, East London.

David Bellos

David Bellos read Modern Languages at Oxford and taught French at the Universities of Edinburgh, Southampton and Manchester before moving to Princeton, where he is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication. He is the author of Romain Gary: A Tall Story; Jacques Tati: His Life and Art; and Georges Perec: A Life in Words, which was awarded the Goncourt Prize for Biography in 1994. He has translated more than 30 books from French, including Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual and novels by Ismail Kadare, the winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005. Bellos’s essay on translation, Is That A Fish in Your Ear? was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. He is currently writing a book about Victor Hugo and Les Misérables.

Daniel Medin

Daniel Medin is an editor and a Professor of Comparative Literature at the American University of Paris (AUP), where he teaches classes on contemporary world literature; writing from Central Europe; the history and culture of Berlin and Vienna; and editorial practice. His research is principally concerned with modern fiction from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with an emphasis on the work and global reception of Franz Kafka. He is Associate Director of AUP’s Center for Writers and Translators, and one of the editors of its Cahiers Series (published jointly with Sylph Editions in London). He is also co-editor of Music & Literature magazine, edits The White Review’s annual translation issue, and advises several journals and presses on contemporary international fiction. He was a judge for the Best Translated Book Award in 2014 and 2015.

Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel is a prize-winning British poet and author with close connections to Greece, music and conservation. Her ninth collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, on creativity, conflict and the Middle East, was short-listed for the T S Eliot Prize. Her prose works include a novel featuring wildlife in India and a book on tiger conservation. Awards include First Prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, a Cholmondeley Award from The Society of Authors, an Arts Council of England Writers’ Award and a British Council Darwin Now Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Member of the Bombay Natural History Society, and Council Member of the Zoological Society of London.


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Notes to Editors:

•         Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation; Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and Boyd Tonkin, chair of the Man Booker International Prize 2016 judges are available for interview through Four Colman Getty

•         Submissions are being sought from UK publishers of books published in English in translation between 1 January 2015 and 30 April 2016. The judges will select a longlist of 12 or 13 books, to be announced in March 2016. This will be followed by a shortlist of six in April 2016 and the winner will be announced in May 2016. This will become an annual process, with the period of publication in subsequent years being from 1 May until 30 April the following year

•         The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco, Books and Arts Editor of The Economist

•         The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation have appointed Gaby Wood as the next Literary Director of the Foundation. She succeeds Ion Trewin, who sadly died earlier this year in April.  Gaby will take over full responsibility for the Man Booker Prize at the conclusion of this year’s prize. The literary direction of the 2015 prize will in the interim be handled by Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and Books and Arts Editor of The Economist.

•         Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up

•         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 aspects of the book world. Its members are:  Richard Cable  - publisher, Random House; Mark Chilton - Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Basil Comely - BBC TV; James Daunt - Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas - Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson - writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns - literary agent; Peter Kemp - Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton - publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco - Books and Arts Editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Emmanuel Roman- Chief Executive Officer, Man Group; Eve Smith - Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; 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: Jonathan Taylor CBE – Chair, former Chairman of Booker plc; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; Baroness Kennedy QC- former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; James Naughtie - broadcaster; Christopher Pearce - former Finance Director of Rentokil plc and Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.

•         Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Baroness Neuberger and Sir Ronald Harwood are Vice Presidents of the Foundation.

•         Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002. A leading alternative investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support.

•         Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, and a leader in high-alpha, liquid investment strategies. Across its four investment managers (Man AHL, Man FRM, Man GLG and Man Numeric), Man Group has a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products spanning equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets and multi-manager solutions. At 30 June 2015, Man Group’s funds under management were $78.8 billion. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Man Group 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 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was launched in 1990 and ran until 1995. The Prize was revived with the support of Arts Council England in 2001 and has been managed by reading charity Book Trust for the last five years. The £10,000 Prize money and associated costs are supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and the Prize was also supported by The Independent and Champagne Taittinger. The 2015 winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsy and published by Portobello Books.