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Guadeloupian Maryse Condé Makes 2015 Man Booker International Prize Shortlist

Maryse Condé

Guadeloupian novelist Maryse Condé (I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem and Segu) is among the finalists from 10 countries, spanning 5 continents for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Announced earlier today, March 24, 2015, the list also boasts four African writers, representing countries never among the finalists for the prestigious £60,000 prize.

Condé is joined by Cesar Aira (Argentina), Hoda Barakat (Lebanon), Mia Couto (Mozambique), Amitav Ghosh (India), Fanny Howe (United States of America), Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya), László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo) and Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa). 

The Man Booker International Prize is a biennial award given for achievement in fiction, and is a awarded to a living writer who originally publishes in English or whose work has been translated and is generally available in English. Interestingly, for the first time in its history, 80% of the works are those of writers who have been translated into English. Six of the countries (Guadeloupe, Hungary, Libya, Mozambique, Republic of Congo and South Africa) are also making their first appearance on the list. 

Unlike the Man Booker Prize, which awards a single title, the International Prize considers the writer’s body of work. Additionally, the prize is awarded solely at the discretion of the adjudication panel, with no submissions from publishers.

The Man Booker International Prize was introduced in 2005, with the inaugural prize won by Ismail Kadare. The prize was subsequently won by Chinua Achebe (2007), Alice Munro (2009), Philip Roth (2011) and Lydia Davis (2013). 

In a release available on the Man Booker website, writer and academic Professor Marina Warner who chairs the 2015 panel of judges, praised the breadth and depth of the writing represented on the list. 

“The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize; we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences.” Warner said.  “Fiction can enlarge the world for us all and stretch our understanding and our sympathy. The novel today is in fine form:  as a field of inquiry, a tribunal of history, a map of the heart, a probe of the psyche, a stimulus to thought, a well of pleasure and a laboratory of language. Truly, we feel closer to the tree of knowledge.”

The 2015 judging panel comprises novelist Nadeem Aslam, novelist and critic Ellke Boehmer, Editor Edwin Frank and academic Wen-chin Ouyang. 

The winner will be announced on May 19, 2015 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.