Evolution of the Man Booker International Prize announced

As the Man Booker Prize closes in on its fiftieth year, things look rather different than they did when the prize was founded back in 1969. Then it was the simple Booker Prize and no one had any idea of how it would go on to become one of the pre-eminent prizes in the literary world and be the catalyst for a host of other bookish initiatives. The original prize has shown the way for a host of other book prizes and spawned a series of initiatives of its own such as the Booker of Bookers (won in 1993 by Salman Rushdie for Midnight’s Children), the Best of the Booker in 2008 (ditto Rushdie), the Lost Man Booker in 2010 (J.G. Farrell for The Troubles) and in 2011 the Man Booker Best of Beryl celebrating the work of the perennial Man Booker bridesmaid Beryl Bainbridge. The most significant of all, however, was the inauguration in 2005 of the Man Booker International Prize.

This biennial prize for works from anywhere in the world published in English was most recently awarded to the Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai. He keeps distinguished company, with Ismail Kadaré, Chinua Achebe, Alice Munro, Philip Roth and Lydia Davis. The 2015 prize having been given it is now the Man Booker International Prize’s turn to evolve. From 2016 the prize will come into line with its English-language parent and close the circle. Just as the Man Booker is now awarded to a single book written in English anywhere in the world and published in Great Britain so the new Man Booker International Prize will follow the same format for a book written in a foreign language and translated into English.

The Man Booker International will become annual, its year culminating in a longlist announcement in March, the shortlist following in April and the winner announced in May (the MB’s climaxing dates are in July, September and October). Like the MB the new-look prize will be for a single book rather than a body of work and submissions too will be from publishers rather than emanating from the judges and the e-Council. The new panel will also have five judges and be worth £50,000 to the winner (to be shared with the translator). As a result of this rationalisation both prizes will now if not sing from the same hymn sheet then certainly write from the same page. Between them the two prizes will reward the best books published anywhere on the globe, in any language, as long as they have a publisher in Britain regardless of where they were first published.

Read the complete article at The Man Booker Prizes.



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