American author Marilynne Robinson, Israel’s Aharon Appelfeld and China’s Yan Lianke are among 10 finalists announced Thursday for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction.
The award, an offshoot of Britain’s better-known Man Booker novel-of-the-year prize, is awarded for a lifetime’s work. It is open to authors of all nationalities whose work is available in English.
Prize organizers said China’s Yan and Russian finalist Vladimir Sorokin have had books banned in their homelands.
Yan fell foul of the authorities with Dream of Ding Village, about the AIDS crisis caused by HIV-contaminated blood, and To Serve the People, which features a character who can be aroused only when his lover smashes images of Chairman Mao.
Sorokin, best known for The Ice Trilogy, had his early books banned in Soviet times.
Other finalists announced at the Jaipur Literary Festival in India include Lydia Davis of the United States, Pakistan’s Intizar Husain, France’s Marie NDiaye and Indian writer U.R. Ananthamurthy.
Josip Novakovich — a Croatia-born Canadian writer — and Switzerland’s Peter Stamm round out the list.
Academic Christopher Ricks, who chairs the judging panel, said the 10 were “astonishingly different” writers who ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s.
Previous winners of the 60,000-pound ($95,000) award include Canada’s Alice Munro, Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe and Philip Roth of the United States.
The prize, awarded every two years, causes fierce debate and occasional controversy. In 2011, British spy writer John Le Carre asked for his name to be removed from the shortlist — he said he eschewed awards — and one of the jurors resigned at the choice of Roth as winner.
This year’s winner will be announced in London on May 22.