Lydia Davis wins International Man Booker

Lydia Davis wins International Man Booker

American writer Lydia Davis has won the fifth Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000.

Davis beat nine other authors including fellow American author Marilynne Robinson and China's Yan Lianke.

The presentation of the prize, which is awarded every two years to a living author for a body of work, was made at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last night (22nd May).

Davis is best known for her short stories, and for her work as a translator of French literature and philosophy. She has previously published a novel The End of the Story, with a new short story collection, Can't and Won't to be published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton in June 2014.

Chair of judges Professor Sir Christopher Ricks said: "Lydia Davis’ writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorise them? Should we simply concur with the official title and dub them stories? Or perhaps miniatures? Anecdotes? Essays? Jokes? Parables? Fables? Texts? Aphorisms, or even apophthegms? Prayers, or perhaps wisdom literature? Or might we settle for observations?
 
"There is vigilance to her stories, and great imaginative attention. Vigilance as how to realise things down to the very word or syllable; vigilance as to everybody’s impure motives and illusions of feeling."

The prize has previously gone to Ismail Kadaré, Chinua Achebe, Alice Munro and Philip Roth.

 

 

Photo credit: Janie Airey