Submitted by Leah on Fri, 2013-05-31 12:37
So convinced was Lydia Davis that she would not be the winner of the Man Booker International Prize that she had neglected to compose the customary “few words of thanks” that mark such occasions. That she had something to say when Sir Christopher Ricks awarded her the prize was entirely due to the fact that she arrived at the ceremony by Tube. As the other passengers played with their mobile phones or read the Evening Standard, Davis had time to compose her few words and commit them to memory, just on the off-chance. Her win, meanwhile, has been exceptionally well received, not least by Stuart Kelly, one of this year's Man Booker judges, who wrote in The Scotsman that: “She is – and these sometimes seem like virtues the literary world has shunned – experimental, complicated, daring. In Ezra Pound’s famous phrase, she makes it new.” All eyes now turn to him and his fellow judges to see who the spotlight will be upon in the months ahead.
Good Reads, a dedicated books website, is already speculating as to who the 2013 judges might choose. Although the submissions are confidential and the longlist won't be announced until 23rd July this hasn't stopped the site from coming up with a list of, at the time of writing, a whopping 136 eligible novels, voted for by readers. This is a measure of how dedicated fiction fans can be. Top of the list, with 10 votes, is Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. Whether life will imitate art in this instance remains to be seen.
Chinua Achebe, who won the International Man Booker in 2007, died in Boston but has finally been buried in his homeland, Nigeria. Despite the fact that the writer was an implacable critic of Nigeria's politicians, the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, not only attended the funeral but poignantly held up the Achebe's books above his coffin. The Anglican archbishop who performed the ceremony said of Achebe: “There are some people who cannot be buried.”
Leon Leyson, one of the youngest survivors on Schindler's List – the roster of Polish Jews saved from the Nazis by Oskar Schindler and immortalised by Thomas Keneally's Man Booker winning Schindler's Ark – finally wrote his own account of events shortly before he died. His memoir, The Boy on the Wooden Box, will be published in August. Leyson died earlier this year, the day after his manuscript was received by his publisher.
John Banville, whose The Sea won the annual prize in 2005, has adapted his book for the big screen. Next month sees its première at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Shot in Wexford the movie has a heavyweight cast including Ciarán Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Natascha McElhone, Rufus Sewell and Sinéad Cusack. It opens in cinemas in September.