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Man Booker International Prize 'reconfigured'

By Aditi Khanna
July 08, 2015 01:11 IST
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The new Man Booker International Prize will complement the Man Booker Prize, the central fiction award which pre-dates the international version, in that the judges will select a longlist of 12 or 13 books next March, followed by a shortlist of six in April, with the winner announced in May 2016.

The United Kingdom’s two leading prizes for international literature -- the Man Booker International prize and the Independent foreign fiction prize -- are to merge to create one annual award from 2016 for a work of literary fiction translated into English.

From next year, the 50,000 pounds prize, open to novels and short story collections translated into English and published in the UK, will be awarded annually on the basis of a single book.

Earlier, the Man Booker International awarded a prize every two years for a body of work.

"The 2015 Man Booker International Prize highlighted the growing importance of quality fiction in translation, with eight out of ten of the finalists having been originally published in a language other than English," the foundation said in a statement.

Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, said, "One of the persistent observations of Man Booker International Prize judges has been that a substantial body of important literary fiction has not been translated into English.

"We very much hope that this reconfiguration of the prize will encourage a greater interest and investment in translation.

"The new Man Booker International Prize will complement the Man Booker Prize for Fiction by ensuring that all novels published in English in the UK are eligible for one or other of the prizes."

As a further acknowledgment of the importance of translation, the prize will be divided equally between the author and the translator.

Each shortlisted author and translator will receive 1,000 pounds. This brings the total prize fund to 62,000 pounds per year, compared to the previous 37,500 pounds for the Man Booker International Prize and 10,000 pounds for the 'Independent' Foreign Fiction Prize.

Boyd Tonkin, senior writer on 'The Independent' newspaper, who has been on the judging panel of the 'Independent' Foreign Fiction Prize since 2000, will chair the judges of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize.

Boyd said, "Since its revival, the 'Independent' Foreign Fiction Prize has through its record of success built a unique reputation as an annual showcase for the very best in global fiction, and for the precious art of the translator.

"I am delighted that, through the newly configured Man Booker International Prize, even more readers will have the chance to encounter the finest fiction from around the world."

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Aditi Khanna in London
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