Published on Submitted by Leah on Tue, 2015-03-24 08:26
Cape Town, South Africa
For Immediate Release:
09.15hrs (Greenwich Mean Time) & 11.15hrs (South Africa Standard Time), Tuesday 24 March 2015
Ten writers are on the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the sixth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.
The finalists’ list is announced by the chair of judges, Professor Marina Warner, at a press conference hosted at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, today, Tuesday 24 March 2015.
The ten authors on the list are:
The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 consists of writer and academic, Professor Marina Warner (Chair); novelist Nadeem Aslam; novelist, critic and Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University, Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series, Edwin Frank, and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.
Announcing the list, Professor Warner comments:
‘The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize; we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences. Fiction can enlarge the world for us all and stretch our understanding and our sympathy. The novel today is in fine form: as a field of inquiry, a tribunal of history, a map of the heart, a probe of the psyche, a stimulus to thought, a well of pleasure and a laboratory of language. Truly, we feel closer to the tree of knowledge.’
Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:
‘We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker International Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors and translators. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as our 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 that we are honoured to support. It’s exciting to see finalists from ten countries, with six nationalities included on the list for the first time, further broadening Man Booker’s international reach. Many congratulations to all the finalists.’
Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments:
‘This is a most interesting and enlightening list of finalists. It brings attention to writers from far and wide, so many of whom are in translation. As a result our reading lists will surely be hugely expanded.’
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. Lydia Davis won the prize in 2013, Philip Roth 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 2015 Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 19 May.
Man Group sponsors both the Man Booker International Prize and the annual Man Booker Prize. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker 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. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.
Notes to Editors
Man Group is an investment management business with a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products across equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager solutions. At 31 December 2014, Man Group subsidiaries managed $ 72.9 billion. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £3.8 billion. Further information can be found at www.man.com.
For up to date information please visit www.themanbookerprize.com
For press enquiries please contact:
London: Hannah McMillan at Four Colman Getty
Tel: +44 (020) 3697 4260 / +44 07971 086649
South Africa: Truda Spruyt at Four Colman Getty
Tel: +44 07740 725206
The Judges’ List of Finalists for the
2015 Man Booker International Prize
Please note that the following information is derived from secondary sources and should be checked for accuracy.
César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina in 1949. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires and at the University of Rosario and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Venezuela.
Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in Argentina, and certainly one of the most talked about in Latin America, Aira has published more than 80 books in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile and Spain. Translations of his work have been published in France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Russia and the United States.
One novel, La prueba (The Trial), has been made into a feature film, and How I Became a Nun was chosen as one of Argentina’s ten best books. In addition to essays and novels, Aira writes regularly for the Spanish newspaper El País. In 1996 he received a Guggenheim scholarship, and in 2002 he was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos prize.
Aira has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967.
His novels include:
How I Become a Nun, trans. Chris Andrews (1990, published in English in 2009)
Ghosts, trans. Chris Andrews (1993, published in English in 2007)
Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, trans. Chris Andrews (2000, published in English in 2006)
“César Aira has written more than 60 novels, drawing on a host of genres, high and low, from the autobiographical to the historical novel, from the ghost story to science fiction, among others. In all of them, he is an improviser, his work a performance on the page. But experimental, improvisionational, performative and dream-like as Aira’s many marvellous books are, they also reveal him to be no less of a traditionalist, responding to the most ancient custom of storytelling as a way of passing the hours of the night.”
Hoda Barakat was born in Beirut in 1952 and brought up in Bsharré, Lebanon. She has worked in teaching and journalism, and has published five novels, two plays, a book of short stories and a book of memoirs, as well as contributing to books written in French. Her work has been translated into a number of languages.
She has received critical acclaim in the Arab world and abroad and was awarded the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for her novel The Tiller of Waters and the al-Nagid Award for The Stone of Laughter. In 2002 she became Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and then the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite National in 2008.
Barakat currently lives in Paris.
Her novels include:
The Stone of Laughter trans. Sophie Bennett (1990, published in English in 1995)
Disciples of Passion, trans. Marilyn Booth (1993, published in English in 2005)
The Tiller of Waters, trans. Marilyn Booth (1998, published in English in 2002)
“Beirut, like the divine in Sufi poetry, is the only heroine in Barakat’s five novels. She may be in ruins, elusive, moody, or even mad, but she is still the unrivalled bride of the Mediterranean. The stories of her men and women recover her cosmopolitan history. They also provide a loving corrective to the sectarian passions driving the civil war.”
Maryse Condé was born at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in 1937. She studied at the Université de Paris III (Sorbonne Nouvelle), where she took her doctorate in comparative literature (1975) researching black stereotypes in Caribbean literature. For 12 years, she lived and taught in West Africa (Guinea, Ghana and Senegal) before returning to France in 1973 to teach Francophone Literature at Paris VII (Jussieu), X (Nanterre), and III (Sorbonne Nouvelle). Condé went on to teach at University of California, Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Virginia before retiring from Columbia University as Professor Emerita of French in 2004.
Condé first novel Hérémakhonon (1976) was inspired by her own life in West Africa, followed by A Season in Rihata (1981) set in a late 20th-century African land. Condé’s pre-eminent position among contemporary Caribbean writers was established on publication of her third novel, Segu (1984), which examined the violent impact of the slave trade, Islam, Christianity and white colonisation on a royal family during the period from 1797 to 1860.
Condé now splits her time between Paris and New York.
Her novels include:
Crossing the Mangrove, trans. Richard Philcox (1984, published in English in 1987)
I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, trans. Richard Philcox (1986, published in English in 1994)
Segu, trans. Barbara Bray (1989, published in English in 1995)
“Maryse Condé has created a monumental body of work that acts against forgetting: her fiction is a mode of historical inquiry, her method a process of rich reassembly and repair, as she reworks memories that have been handed down the generations on fragile lines of communication, broken by slavery, migration, colonialism and poverty.”
Mia Couto, born in Mozambique in 1955, is one of the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa. His books, infused with magical realism and deeply rooted in the political upheavals, languages and narratives of his native land, have been published in more than 20 countries.
In 2014 he was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He has won the Camões Prize (the most prestigious Portuguese-language award), the Latin Union Prize, and the Vergílio Ferreira Prize, amongst others. His novel Sleepwalking Land was voted one of the 12 best African books of the 20th century at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. He lives in Maputo, where he works as a biologist.
His novels include:
The Tuner of Silences, trans. David Brookshaw (1992, published in English in 2006)
Sleepwalking Land, trans. David Brookshaw (2000, published in English in 2004)
The Last Flight of the Flamingo, trans. David Brookshaw (2002, published in English in 2013)
“Mia Couto’s stories of civilisation and barbarity are told through a language that is precise and profound; he weaves together the living tradition of legend, poetry and song, His pages are studded with startling images:
A tree flowers – and devotes a few nightly thoughts to the dead body buried near its roots.
A boy of eleven sees a woman for the first time and begins to weep.
Someone in a boat looks back and sees that his oars have left a trail of holes in the water’s surface.
In the sands of Tandissico the sea ‘opens out like a blue word’. Pain is described as a ‘window through which death peers at us’. A character tells us that his teps faltered ‘like someone in a funeral procession’. Another is about being picked up by his grandfather ‘as if he were weighing my soul’.
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines.
Amitav Ghosh has sold over 3 million books worldwide, with his work translated into 33 languages and has won numerous awards. The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two prestigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001. In January 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel, Sea of Poppies (2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the India Plaza Golden Quill Award.
In January 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honours, by the President of India. In 2010 Amitav Ghosh was awarded honorary doctorates by Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris. Along with Margaret Atwood, he was also a joint winner of a Dan David Award for 2010. In 2011 he was awarded the International Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal.
Ghosh divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn.
His novels include:
In an Antique Land (1992)
The Hungry Tide (2004)
Sea of Poppies (2008)
“Amitav Ghosh’s novels explore with searching courage the force of love over pain in situations of conflict and division, and the persistence of human memory. In Ghosh’s hands the contemporary historical novel is transformed, uprooted from a single locale and exploded across the world and the maps of former empires. His vision encompasses the Gulf States, the China seas, the medieval Mediterranean, the Bay of Bengal and the wider Indian Ocean. His immersive feel for the past, its colours, tones and linguistic textures, brings to light the tales of those that the official records overlook – the deposed kings and lascars, the banished and the defeated – and gives them vivid new life.”
(United States of America)
Fanny Howe was born in 1940 and grew up in Boston. She raised her three children in New England and travelled between there and California for many years, teaching both poetry and fiction.
She is the author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose, including most recently Come and See, The Lyrics and The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. Her novels include Nod, Saving History and Indivisble, published in 2006 in a five-volume set under the title Radical Love.
She received the 2009 Ruth Lily Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation for lifetime achievement, the Gold Medal for Poetry from the Commonwealth Club of California, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for the Most Outstanding Book of Poetry Published in 2000 from the Academy of American Poets, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and has twice been a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize.
Howe is now based in Massachusetts.
Her novels include:
Radical Love: Five Novels (2006)
“Wounded souls, as well as wounds of class, race, and sex, fill Howe’s work, but her books are at once direct and offbeat, and the starkly realistic picture of contemporary America she paints is shot through with fairy-tale strangeness and passages of lyrical interrogation. She writes simply and beautifully, and she observes the inner life as matter-of-factly, sometimes disconcertingly so, as she does the outer world. Howe is a remarkable writer whose care for words matches her care for her characters, and who never forgets how perilous it is to be a person.”
Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was 12. Al-Koni studied comparative literature at the Maxim Gorky Institute in Moscow, later becoming a journalist. He worked at the Libyan Cultural Institute in Moscow and as a journalist and editor at a cultural magazine in Warsaw before moving to Switzerland.
Al-Koni has written more than 60 novels, short stories, poems and aphorisms, all inspired by the desert. His work has won him numerous important prizes in the Arab world, including the Mohamed Zefzaf Prize for the Arabic Novel in 2005 and the 2008 Sheikh Zayed Award for Literature.
Al-Koni has lived in Switzerland since 1993.
His novels include:
The Bleeding of the Stone, trans May Jayyusi and Christopher Tingley (1990, published in English in 2001)
Gold Dust, trans Elliott Colla (1990, published in English in 2008)
New Waw: Saharan Oasis, trans. William M. Hutchins (1997, published in English in 2014)
“Life is a prison. Civilisation is violence. In Ibrahim al-Koni’s desert symphonies, the Sahara is the stage on which the drama of human struggle plays out; to be free from the trappings of civilisation and return to the primordial life that originated in the Sahara. United or separated, allies or foes, man and beast come together to sing the arias of love and freedom amid the clamour of war and conquest sounded in the cities and oases. Reading al-Koni is a transcendental experience.”
László Krasznahorkai was born in 1954. He gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo Down Below, both published by New Directions.
His novels include:
Satantango, trans. George Szirtes (1985, published in English in 2012)
Melancholy of Resistance, trans. George Szirtes (1989, published in English in 1998)
Seibo Down Below, trans. Ottilie Mulzet (2008, published in English in 2013)
“In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.”
(Republic of Congo)
Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966. He currently spends his time between Paris, Congo and Los Angeles, where he teaches literature at UCLA. In 2012 Mabanckou took up a residency in the ArtAngel project, A Room for London.
Mabanckou is the author of six volumes of poetry and six novels, with his works published in 15 languages. He won the prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature Henri Gal in 2012 for his body of work, and has received the Sub-Saharan African Literature Prize (for Blue-White-Red) and the Prix Renaudot (for Memoirs of a Porcupine). He has been longlisted and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for Black Bazaar and Broken Glass respectively. He was selected by the French journal Lire and by Vanity Fair as one of the 50 writers to watch out for this coming century.
His novels include:
Broken Glass, trans. Helen Stevenson (2005, published in English in 2009)
Memoirs of a Porcupine, trans. Helen Stevenson (2006, published in English in 2010)
Tomorrow I Will be Twenty, trans. Helen Stevenson (2010, published in English in 2013)
“Alain Mabanckou addresses the reader with exuberant inventiveness in novels that are brilliantly imaginative in their forms of storytelling. His voice is vividly colloquial, mischievous and often outrageous as he explores, from multiple angles, the country where he grew up, drawing on its political conflicts and compromises, disappointments and hopes. He acts the jester, but with serious intent and lacerating effect.”
Marlene van Niekerk
Marlene Van Niekerk, who was born in 1954, is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. She was awarded South Africa’s high honour, the Order of Ikhamanga, in 2011 for her outstanding intellectual contribution to literary arts and culture through poetry, literature and philosophical works. She is Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch literature and Creative Writing at Stellenbosch University and held the Unesco Africa Chair in Utrecht in 2007/8.
The film adaptation of her debut novel Triomf, directed by Michael Raeburn, won the Best South African Film Award at the Durban International Film Festival, 2008.
Agaat, published in the UK as The Way of the Women, is translated by Michiel Heyns, who won the Sol Plaatje Award for translation for this work. This extraordinary novel topped the Swedish bestseller list for five weeks in 2012, and has received many accolades in its Afrikaans and English editions including the South African Sunday Times Literary Prize and the Hertzog Prize (both 2007) and a shortlisting for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2008.
Her novels include:
Triomf, trans. Leon de Kock (1994, published in English in 2000)
Agaat, (The Way of the Women) trans. Michiel Heyns (2004, published in English in 2006)
Memorandum: A Story with Pictures trans. Michiel Heyns (2006, published in English in 2006)
“Marlene van Niekerk is the author of two immense masterpieces, Triomf and Agaat, which chart in evocative, sometimes disturbing detail the aches and aggravations of political transition in South Africa for those who saw themselves as on the losing side, in particular impoverished Afrikaners. Van Niekerk’s vision is ambitious, uncompromising and irrefutable. The bold experimentalism of her Afrikaans takes the reader deep inside the contortions of the apartheid psyche and asks whether some historical hurts and hatreds can ever be entirely erased.”
Marina Warner (Chair)
Professor Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols and fairy tales. She was born in London of an Italian mother and an English father who was a bookseller. She read French and Italian as an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she is now an honorary fellow. She was elected a fellow of All Souls’ College, Oxford in 2013. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, and the President of the British Comparative Literature Association. She was awarded the Holberg Prize in 2015. Her books include Alone of All Her Sex, a study of the cult of the Virgin Mary; From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairytales and their Tellers; and most recently Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights, which won a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Truman Capote Prize and a Sheikh Zayed Prize. Her most recent book Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale was published in October 2014. A collection of short stories, Fly Away Home, will be published by Salt in September. Marina Warner lives in north London.
Nadeem Aslam is the author of four highly acclaimed novels: Season of the Rainbirds, which won a Betty Trask Award, Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kiriyama Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC prize, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and a New York Times Notable Book in 2004, The Wasted Vigil, and, most recently, The Blind Man's Garden. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in Pakistan, Nadeem Aslam lives in England.
Elleke Boehmer is a novelist, critic and academic specialising in African and Indian literatures in English. She is the author of four novels, including Screens again the Sky (shortlisted for the David Higham Prize, 1990), Bloodlines (shortlisted for the SANLAM prize, 2000), and Nile Baby (2008). She has published monographs, editions and anthologies, amongst others, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995, 2005) and Stories of Women (2005). Her biography Nelson Mandela (2008) has been widely translated and her edition of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys was a 2004 bestseller. She is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. Later this year she will publish Indian Arrivals 1870-1915 and The Shouting in the Dark, a novel.
The editorial director of the New York Review Classics series since its beginning in 1999, Edwin Frank was born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1960 and educated at Harvard and Columbia University. He has published in The New York Review of Books and The Nation, among other journals, and is the author of three books of poetry, The Further Adventures of Pinocchio, Stack and Snake Train (2015). Currently he is at work on a history of the 20th-century novel.
Wen-chin Ouyang is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London. Born in Taiwan and raised in Libya, she completed her BA in Arabic at Tripoli University and PhD Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She taught Arabic language, literature and culture at Columbia, University of Chicago and University of Virginia before she moved to London. She has written extensively on classical and modern Arabic narrative and literary criticism. She is the author of Literary Criticism in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Culture: The Making of a Tradition (1997), Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel (2012) and Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel (2013). She has also published widely on The Thousand and One Nights, often in comparison with classical and modern Arabic narrative traditions, European and Hollywood cinema, magic realism, and Chinese storytelling. She is Editor-in-Chief of Middle Eastern Literatures and a member of the editorial board of Bulletin of SOAS. She founded and co-edits Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature. She chaired the editorial board of Middle East in London Magazine (2007-2008) and contributes regularly to Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. A native speaker of Arabic and Chinese, she has been working towards Arabic-Chinese comparative literary and cultural studies, including Silk Road Studies.
Four Colman Getty
24 March 2015
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