Mahashweta, Naipaul Shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize

Prasun Sonwalkar, London
Mahashweta, Naipaul Shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize
Noted Bengali writer Mahashweta Devi and celebrated Indian-origin novelist V S Naipaul are among 14 authors short-listed for the 60,000 pounds Man Booker International Prize, which recognises the lifetime achievement of a litterateur.

The Man Booker International Prize differs from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction 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 fiction.

The 14 writers short-listed come from 12 countries and seven are writers whose works are available in translation.

The authors are: Peter Carey (Australia), Evan S Connell (USA), Mahasweta Devi (India), E L Doctorow (USA), James Kelman (UK), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), Arnost Lustig (Czechoslovakia), Alice Munro (Canada), V S Naipaul (Trinidad/India), Joyce Carol Oates (USA), Antonio Tabucchi (Italy), Ngugi Wa Thiong'O (Kenya), Dubravka Ugresic (Croatia) and Ludmila Ulitskaya (Russia).

Judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2009, the third edition of the award, include noted Indian writer Amit Chaudhuri, Jane Smiley and Andrey Kurkov.

 Announcing the list, Smiley said, "Judging the Man Booker International Prize has made us all aware of how unusual and astonishing the literary world really is.

"We've all read books by authors we had never heard of before and they have turned out to be some of the best books we've ever read. I am thrilled with the list we have come up with. It makes me wonder who else is out there untranslated into English".

She added: "Some of the best writers in the world have come together on this judges' list regardless of celebrity or commercial success. For us it's been a rare combination of education and delight."

The Man Booker International Prize was announced in June 2004. Worth 60,000 pounds (Rs 43 lakh approx), the prize is awarded once 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.

In addition, there is a separate prize for translation and, if applicable, the winner can choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of 15,000 pounds.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions from publishers.

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe won the 2007 prize while Albanian Ismail Kadare won the inaugural award in 2005 and went on to gain worldwide recognition for his work.

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