Man Booker International Prize Announces Finalists

The finalists for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, which recognizes one fiction writer for a body of work, were announced today. Of the ten authors only three write in English, including American novelist Marilynne Robinson, who was first short-listed for the award in 2011. The winner, who will be announced in May, will receive sixty thousand British pounds. 

Representing nine different countries, the finalists were annouced this morning at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The list includes U R Ananthamurthy of India, Aharon Appelfeld of Israel, Lydia Davis of the United States, Intizar Husain of Pakistan, Yan Lianke of China, Marie NDiaye of France, Josip Novakovich of Canada, Marilynne Robinson of the United States, Vladimir Sorokin of Russia, and Peter Stamm of Switzerland. 

While many of this year's authors are relatively lesser known, Robinson, who teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is no stranger to literary prizes. Her debut novel, Housekeeping (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982) won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for best first novel and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction; what is perhaps her most widely known novel, Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; and her most recent novel, Home, also published by FSG, received the 2009 Orange Prize. 

The current panel of judges, which has grown in size from previous years, includes chairman Christopher Ricks, critic and translator Tim Parks, critic Elif Batuman, and novelists Aminatta Forna and Yiyun Li. On the Man Booker International website, prize administrator Fiammetta Rocco attributes the wide range of finalists to the expanded scope of judges, each who represents a different geographical focus. “Now that we have five judges, we have been able to read in far greater depth than ever before,” she says. “Fiction is now available in all sorts of forms and in translation in more countries. This list recognizes that and is the fruit of the judges' collective reading.”

The award is given every two years to a living author who has published original works of fiction in English, or whose books are widely available in translation. The finalists and winners are chosen solely by the judges; there is no application process. 

Past winners of the prize include American novelist Philip Roth, Canadian short story writer Alice Munro, Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, and Albanian author Ismail Kadare, who won the inaugural prize in 2005. The winner of the 2013 prize, who may also choose a translator of their work to be awarded fifteen thousand pounds, will be announced on May 22 in London.