Man Booker International

Chinua Achebe has just been awarded the Man Booker International award – hooray! This is only the second year the prize has been awarded and selection criteria include: the author must still be alive; they must be deemed to have made a significant conribution to world literature; and their works must be either written in English or widely available in translation. The last one is technically rather discriminatory, but since nobody can read all the languages in the world it is understandable. 

Anyway I’m glad Achebe was selected. As the article in the Guardian this week says, “by honouring Achebe they have redressed what is seen in Africa – and beyond – as the acute injustice that he has never received the Nobel prize, allegedly because he has spent his life struggling to break the grip of western stereotypes of Africa.” The other author on the list I would have liked to see win was Carlos Fuentes, and he was probably the second choice. I think Achebe was the right choice though.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Man Booker International

  1. LK

    I agree with you. However, I have had that book on my shelves for years without cracking the spine.

    Oh, I can hear the words echo, “Get cracking!”

  2. LK

    By the way, Book Traveller, since I am going to Spain in November, I am eager to read some literature by current Spanish authors. Any recommendations?

    (Think I’ll do a post trawl on this…)

  3. If you haven’t read it, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is very good. Otherwise, I’d probably go for authors like Javier Marias or any of these authors listed here http://users.adelphia.net/~fvila/Spain/contemporary.htm (especially Juan Goytisolo and Arturo Perez-Reverte, I’ve heard excellent things about both of them). Also, although he is dead and perhaps not as modern as the authors listed above, Federico Garcia Lorca’s works are very worth looking at.

  4. I never knew the exact criteria for the Man Booker prize. That last requirement seems a little discriminatory to me, too.

  5. Finian

    Considering it is a prize from an English speaking country, and it even gives a loophole if it is widely translated in other languages aside from English, it is in no way discriminatory. When the Cervantes Prize starts to get awarded to English books, let me know.

  6. LK

    Thank you for the Spanish reads! I will check them out.

  7. I’m glad to see that Achebe won, although he was in the company of other great authors. It’s been a big month for Nigerian authors!

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