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A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman Wins The Man Booker International Prize 2017

A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman Wins The Man Booker International Prize 2017


  • David Grossman and Jessica Cohen to share £50,000 prize

  • Grossman was the winner of the 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize


 



A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman was tonight, Wednesday 14 June, announced as the winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. The novel was translated by Jessica Cohen and is published in Britain by Jonathan Cape. Celebrating the finest global fiction in translation, the Man Booker International Prize awards both the winning author and translator £25,000. They have also received a further £1,000 each for being shortlisted.



Grossman is a bestselling Israeli writer of fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature, whose works have been translated into 36 languages. He has been the recipient of numerous global awards, including the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome’s Premio per la Pace e l’Azione Umanitaria, the Frankfurt Peace Prize, and Israel’s Emet Prize.



Cohen, who was born in Colchester, England, but raised in Jerusalem, previously translated Grossman’s critically acclaimed To the End of the Land as well as work by other major Israeli writers including Etgar Keret, Rutu Modan, Dorit Rabinyan, Ronit Matalon, Amir Gutfreund, Tom Segev, and Golden Globe-winning director Ari Folman.



A Horse Walks Into a Bar unfolds over the course of one final show by stand-up comedian, Dovaleh Gee. Charming, erratic and repellent – Dovaleh exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him. With themes that encompass betrayal between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt and redress, A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read.



Of the book, The Guardian commented: ‘This isn’t just a book about Israel: it’s about people and societies horribly malfunctioning. Sometimes we can only apprehend these truths through story - and Grossman, like Dovaleh, has become a master of the truth-telling tale.’



The novel is announced as the 2017 winner by Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival at an exclusive dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.



It was selected from 126 books by a panel of five judges, chaired by Nick Barley and consisting of: Daniel Hahn, an award-winning writer, editor and translator; Elif Shafak, a prize-winning novelist and one of the most widely read writers in Turkey; Chika Unigwe, author of four novels including On Black Sisters’ Street; and Helen Mort, a poet who has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize, and has won a Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award five times.



Nick Barley, chair of the 2017 judging panel, comments:



‘David Grossman has attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and he’s pulled it off spectacularly.  A Horse Walks into a Bar shines a spotlight on the effects of grief, without any hint of sentimentality. The central character is challenging and flawed, but completely compelling. We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft.’



Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:



‘I and my colleagues at Man Group would like to congratulate David Grossman and Jessica Cohen, along with each of the shortlisted authors and translators. The Man Booker International Prize plays a vital role in celebrating the extraordinary depth of global writing talent, opening up avenues for authors that were previously closed and recognising the unique contribution of translation. We are very proud to sponsor the Prize, and equally proud to support the grassroots of literature and literacy through the Booker Prize Foundation’s charitable activities, helping young writers and readers, and those for whom access to books is a daily challenge.’



This is only the second year that the Man Booker International Prize has been awarded to a single book, with the £50,000 prize divided equally between the author and the translator. Its prior form honoured a  body of work published either originally in English or available in translation in the English language, and was awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009, Philip Roth in 2011, Lydia Davis in 2013, and László Krasznahorkai in 2015.



The 2016 winner was The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith. According to statistics from Nielsen Book, translated fiction from Korea has grown 400% since 2016. This highlights the remarkable impact the newly evolved Man Booker International Prize has had.



The prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm that also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest in contemporary literature.



www.themanbookerprize.com  |  @ManBookerPrize  |  #MBI2017  #FinestFiction



 



– Ends –



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The Winner



A Horse Walks Into a Bar



David Grossman



Translated by Jessica Cohen



Published by Jonathan Cape



The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling before their eyes as a matter of choice. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell.



Dovaleh Gee, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.



The judges comment: ‘An extraordinary story that soars in the hands of a master storyteller. Written with empathy, wisdom and emotional intelligence, A Horse Walks into a Bar is a mesmerising meditation on the opposite forces shaping our lives: humour and sorrow, loss and hope, cruelty and compassion, and how even in the darkest hours we find the courage to carry on. An unforgettable, bold novel by David Grossman, beautifully translated into the English language by Jessica Cohen.’



David Grossman (63) is the bestselling author of numerous works, which have been translated into 36 languages. His most recent novels are To the End of the Land, described by British academic Jacqueline Rose as ‘without question one of the most powerful and moving novels I have ever read’, and Falling Out of Time. He is the recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize. He was born in Jerusalem, where he currently resides, in 1954.



Jessica Cohen (44) is a freelance translator born in England in 1973, raised in Israel, and living in Denver, Colorado. Her translations include David Grossman’s critically acclaimed To the End of the Land, and works by other major Israeli writers including Etgar Keret, Rutu Modan, Dorit Rabinyan, Ronit Matalon, Amir Gutfreund and Tom Segev, as well as Golden Globe-winning director Ari Folman. She is a past board member of the American Literary Translators Association and has served as a judge for the National Translation Award.



 



Notes to Editors:

 



  • David Grossman and Jessica Cohen are available for a limited amount of interviews. Please contact Aidan O'Neill via Aoneill@randomhouse.co.uk | 0207 840 8438

  • The winner of the 2017 Man Booker International Prize was chosen from 126 entries. The 2017 shortlisted titles were:      


 



Author (nationality), Translator, Title (imprint)



  • Mathias Enard (France), Charlotte Mandell (US), Compass (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

  • David Grossman (Israel), Jessica Cohen (US), A Horse Walks Into a Bar (Jonathan Cape)

  • Roy Jacobsen (Norway), Don Bartlett (UK), Don Shaw (UK), The Unseen (Maclehose)

  • Dorthe Nors (Denmark), Misha Hoekstra (US), Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (Pushkin Press)

  • Amos Oz (Israel), Nicholas de Lange (UK), Judas (Chatto & Windus)

  • Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), Megan McDowell (US), Fever Dream (Oneworld)


 



  • The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor of The Economist and 1843. The Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood


 



  • Books under consideration have been published in English in translation by UK publishers between 1 May 2016 and 30 April 2017


 



  • The first winner of the newly evolved Man Booker International Prize was The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith


 



  • There is no restriction on the number of submissions per publisher but this will be kept under review and may change in future years


 



  • 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: www.themanbookerprize.com 


 



  • 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:  Mark Chilton – Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Jonty Claypole – Head of Arts, BBC; 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; Adam Freudenheim – publisher, Pushkin Press; Derek Johns – author & literary agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Rosanna Konarzewski – Global Head of Communications and Marketing, Man Group; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor, The Economist and 1843 (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Michal Shavit – Publishing Director, Jonathan Cape; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Boyd Tonkin – writer and critic; Gaby Wood – Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation


 



  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) established in 2002, since when it has been responsible for the award of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and for the Man Booker International Prize since its inauguration in 2005. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC – Chair, former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Ben Okri – writer and former Man Booker Prize winner. Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Sir Ronald Harwood and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents


 



  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002 and the Man Booker International Prize since its inception in 2005. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that 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 creativity. 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 an active investment management firm focused on delivering performance and client solutions through its five investment management businesses: Man AHL; Man Numeric; Man GLG; Man FRM and Man Global Private Markets. Man Group’s investment management businesses provide long-only, alternative and private markets products on a single and multi-manager basis, leveraging the firm’s robust infrastructure to provide a diverse range of strategies across investment approaches, styles and asset classes.  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. As at 31 March 2017, Man Group’s funds under management were $88.7 billion. 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 www.man.com

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


 



 



Four Colman Getty



June 2017