Saturday , July 20 2024

First “Man Booker International Prize” Contenders Announced

The Man Booker International Prize will be awarded once every two years for career achievement to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English, or is generally available in translation in the English language. 2005 sees the awarding of the inaugural prize. The prize, sponsored by the Man Group, will be £60,000 and an author can only win the award once.

The Man Booker International Prize will echo and reinforce the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that literary excellence will be its sole focus. This new prize goes a step further in highlighting one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to world fiction. The winner will be announced in early June.

The Judges’ List of Contenders was announced yesterday from Georgetown University, Washington (webcast of the announcement here):

    Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College. She currently lives in Toronto with novelist Graeme Gibson.Throughout her thirty years of writing, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and several honorary degrees. She is the author of more than twenty-five volumes of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction and is perhaps best known for her novels, one of which, The Blind Assassin won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000.

    Atwood’s work has been published in more than thirty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian.

    Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto

    Saul Bellow was born in Canada in 1915 and grew up in Chicago. He attended Chicago, Northwestern and Wisconsin universities and has a B.Sc. in anthropology. He has been a visiting lecturer at the universities of Princeton and New York and associate professor at the University of Minnesota. He has also lived in Paris and travelled extensively in Europe.

    In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and he has received a grant from the Ford Foundation. He is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and was elected the third Neil Gunn Fellow by the Scottish Arts Council in 1976. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, the first American to win the prize since John Steinbeck in 1962. In 1977 Saul Bellow won the Gold Medal for the Novel, which is awarded every sixth year by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1978 he won the (USA) National Arts Club Gold Medal of Honor. In 1984 President Mitterrand made him a Commander of the Legion of Honour.

    Saul Bellow lives in America

    Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1928 in the small town of Aracataca, situated in a tropical region of northern Colombia. He went to a Jesuit college and began to read law, but his studies were soon broken off for his work as a journalist. In 1954 he was sent to Rome on an assignment for his newspaper, and since then he has mostly lived abroad – in Paris, New York, Barcelona and Mexico. In addition to his large output of fiction he has written screenplays and has continued to work as a journalist. In 1981 Garcia Marquez was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration France gives to a foreigner. In 1982, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and used the money to start a daily newspaper, El Otro, in Colombia.

    Born in Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland) Gunter Grass was educated at Danzig Volksschule and Gymnasium, and went to art college after serving as a soldier in the Second World War, where he was held as a POW.

    Grass trained as a sculptor and stonemason and has also worked as a jazz musician and political speechwriter for the mayor of Berlin.

    The publication of The Tin Drum catapulted Grass to the forefront of European fiction. Since that novel his work has moved from fantastical symbolism towards political activism. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

    Gunter Grass lives in Germany

    Ismail Kadare was born in 1936 in the Albanian mountain town of Girokaster near the Greek border. He is Albania’s best-known poet and novelist. He established an uneasy modus vivendi with the Communist authorities until their attempts to turn his reputation to their advantage drove him in October 1990 to seek asylum in France.

    Ismail Kadare lives in France

    Milan Kundera was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1929. He was a student when the Czech Communist regime was established in 1948. He later worked as a labourer, jazz musician and professor at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Prague. After the Russian invasion in August 1968, his books were proscribed. In 1975, he and his wife settled in France, and in 1981, he became a French citizen.

    Milan Kundera lives in France

    Born in 1921 in Lvov, Poland, Stanislaw Lem is the author of novels, short stories, literary criticism, philosophy, parodies and screenplays. Lem is the recipient of many literary awards, most notably the State Prize for Literature in Poland 1976 and the Austrian State Award for European Literature 1985.

    Stanislaw Lem lives in Austria

    Doris Lessing was born in Persia to British parents in 1919. She spent her childhood on her father’s farm in what was then Southern Rhodesia. She arrived in England in 1949, when her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published. Doris Lessing has travelled or lived briefly in France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Czechoslovakia. Her books have been translated into many languages from French to Russian.

    Lessing’s collection of short novels called Five earned her the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954 and her play Play with a Tiger was presented in the West End in 1962. In 1982 she received the Austrian State Prize for Literature and the Shakespeare Prize, Hamburg. Doris Lessing has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times: Briefing For a Descent in to Hell(1971), The Sirian Experiments(1981) and The Good Terrorist(1985) which also won the WH Smith Award in 1985.

    In August 1991, she received an honorary title of Distinguished Fellow in Literature in the School of English and American Studies conferred by University of East Anglia.

    Doris Lessing lives in the UK

    Ian McEwan was born on 21 June, 1948 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. He spent much of his childhood in the Far East, Germany and North Africa where his father, an officer in the army, was posted. He read English at Sussex University and, after graduating, became the first student on the MA Creative Writing course established at the University of East Anglia by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson.

    He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg, in 1999. He was awarded a CBE in 2000. He currently lives in London.

    McEwan won the Somerset Maugham Award for First Love, Last Rites and the Booker Prize for Fiction with Amsterdam in 1998.

    Ian McEwan lives in the UK

    Born in Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and ten more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. The appearance of the Cairo Triology, (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse) in 1957 made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life.

    Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. Now retired, he is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988.

    Naguib Mahfouz lives in Egypt

    Tomas Eloy Martinez was born in 1934 in Argentina. During the military dictatorship, he lived in exile in Venezuela where he wrote his first three books, all of which were republished in Argentina in 1983, in the first months of democracy. During a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for International Scholars, Martinez wrote The Peron Novel, which was published in 1988. Currently he is a professor and director of the Latin American Program at Rutgers University.

    Tomas Eloy Martinez lives in America

    A novelist, essayist, and short story writer, Oe was born in 1935 on the Japanese island of Shikoku. After a childhood shaped by family storytelling and war, he attended Tokyo University and studied French literature. A prolific writer, Oe addresses the themes of family, childhood, and war.
    At age 23, Oe published his first novel, Pluck the Flowers, Gun the Kids. That same year, he won the Akutagawa Prize for The Catch, a short novel about a small boy’s relationship with an African-American pilot captured in his village. A Personal Matter was inspired by his own family’s experiences in raising a mentally-challenged child. The work earned him the Shinohosha Literary Prize. Hiroshima Notes (1963) analyzes the ethical implications of atomic war, informed by his interviews with doctors and patients who suffered the effects of the bombing. His 1967 novel Football in the First Year of Mannen received the Tanizaki Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994.

    Kenzaburo Oe lives in Japan

    Cynthia Ozick was born in Manhattan and has lived in the New York City area most of her life. She attended Hunter College High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University with honors in English, and holds a master’s degree from Ohio State University. She lives in Westchester County and is married to Bernard Hallote, a retired lawyer.

    She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her novel, The Puttermesser Papers, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. The essay collection Quarrel & Quandry, won the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. Ozick’s work has been translated into thirteen languages worldwide. Her novella The Shawl was produced for the stage in New York, directed by Sidney Lumet.

    Her many awards include a Guggenheim fellowship and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She was the first writer to be given the Rea Award for the Short Story.

    Cynthia Ozick lives in America

    Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1933, the son of an insurance salesman and the grandchild of European Jewish immigrants. He was educated at Bucknell University and the University of Chicago. After spending a year in the army, Roth began publishing short stories in 1956.
    His first book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959) won the National Book Award, and since then he has published twenty-two books. In the 1990s, Roth won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony (1991), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock (1993), and the National Book Award for Sabbath’s Theater (1995).

    American Pastoral (1997) and I Married A Communist (1998), the first two volumes of the American trilogy that culminates in The Human Stain, received the Pulitzer Prize and the Ambassador Book Award respectively. The Human Stain was a PEN/Faulkner Award Winner, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and a Voice Literary Supplement, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angles Times Best Book. Philip Roth also received the Jewish Book Council Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement.

    For many years, Roth taught comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania. He now lives and writes in Connecticut.

    Philip Roth lives in America

    Muriel Spark was born Muriel Sarah Camberg in Edinburgh in 1918 to a Jewish Lithuanian father and an English Protestant mother. She was educated at the Edinburgh James Gillespie’s School for Girls. After leaving school, Spark took a course in précis writing at the Heriott Watt College in Edinburgh.

    In 1937 Muriel Camberg married Sydney Oswald Spark and they had a son, Samuel. For several years of her marriage Spark lived in Central Africa.

    During the Second World War, Spark was conscripted to the Political Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office where she worked as a propagandist for the war effort. After the war she lived in London, where she began her literary career. She edited The Poetry Review from1947-9 and wrote studies of Mary Shelley, John Masefield and the Bronte sisters. In 1952 she published her first book, a collection of poetry entitled The Fanfarlo and Other Verse but it was her winning of the Observer prize for short fiction that finally inspired her to write fiction full-time. Her first published novel, The Comforters was written three years after Spark converted to Roman Catholicism and the novel was inspired by her studies on the Book of Job.

    In 1967 Spark took up residence in Italy where she now resides, moving between Rome and New York. In 1971 she was awarded an honorary degree in literature from Strathclyde University and has been similarly honoured by the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Oxford. Heriot Watt also attributed her as a Doctor of the University. In 1993 Spark was made a Dame of the British Empire and in 1997 she received the David Cohen British Literature Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

    Muriel Spark lives in Italy

    Antonio Tabucchi was born in Pisa in 1943. His first work of fiction appeared in 1975 and since then he has published over a dozen novels, collections of short stories and theatrical dialogues in a career that has made him one of the most representative of contemporary Italian writers. He is Professor of Portugese language and literature at the University of Genoa and recognised as the leading Italian scholar in this field. He is a specialist on the work of Fernando Pessoa, whom he has translated into Italian.

    Antonio Tabucchi lives in Italy

    John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and the author of over forty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.

    John Updike lives in America

    A.B. Yehoshua was born in 1936 in Jerusalem and today lives in Haifa where he isProfessor of Literature at Haifa University. He studied Hebrew literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has taught at high-school and university levels, and in Paris while living there from 1963 to 1967. Best known as a novelist and playwright, A.B. Yehoshua is among the most widely internationally recognized Israeli authors.

    A.B. Yehoshua lives in Israel

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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