Fiction at its finest

The Man Booker International Prize 2013 - Judging Panel Announced

02 December 2011

Man Booker International Prize 2013 logo The Man Booker International Prize 2013 - Judging Panel Announced

The judges for the biennial 2013 Man Booker International Prize are announced today, 2 December, 2011. This is the fifth time that the Prize has been awarded. In order to ensure a panel with the broadest reading experience, the number of judges will increase from three to five. Chaired by Sir Christopher Ricks, the scholar and literary critic, the panel consists of author and essayist Elif Batuman, writer and broadcaster Aminatta Forna, novelist Yiyun Li and author and academic Tim Parks.

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Prize, comments:

"With a deep personal knowledge of contemporary fiction from Britain, the United States, Europe, Russia, Africa and Asia, this is an enormously experienced panel of judges. They bring scholarship, wit and a passion for reading to the task in hand."

The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It is presented every two years to a living author for a body of work published either originally in English or widely 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. It has previously been awarded to Ismail Kadare in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009 and Philip Roth in 2011.

The Man Booker International Prize has rapidly established itself as a leading accolade in world literature: it was recently described by the Observer as "an ever more competent alternative to the Nobel."

The judges' list of finalists, eight writers under serious consideration for the prize, will be announced in spring 2013. The winner of the next Man Booker International Prize will be announced in early summer 2013. The Prize will be presented at an awards ceremony in July 2013.

The Prize is sponsored by Man, 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.

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".

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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.

• Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides administrative back-up. Photographs of the judges are available from 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 Waterstone's; 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. Man manages $65.0 billon, as of 30 September, 2011. 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 1OO Index with a market capitalisation of more than £3 billion.

Man is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the FTSE4Good Index. Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes.
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