Two of the biggest names in literature from India and Pakistan — Kannada writer U.R. Ananthamurthy and Urdu novelist Intizar Husain — are among the 10 writers from around the world shortlisted for this year’s £60,000 Man Booker International Prize.
It is awarded every two years to a living author in recognition of his or her achievement in fiction.
Mr. Ananthamurthy, a Jnanpith awardee and regarded as one of the most important voices of the “new movement” in Kannada, is also in the running for the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature to be announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival this weekend.
Each writer different
Announcing the list, Christopher Ricks, British critic and writer who chaired the Man Booker Prize jury, said that each writer was “astonishingly different” and that’s what made the list so exciting.
“Each is the author of a substantial body of published work, whether novels or short stories, either written in or translated into English. Some of these men and women are in their eighties, the youngest in their forties and fifties. They write in ways that are astonishingly different,” he said.
Other contenders are: Aharon Appelfeld (Israel), Lydia Davis (the United States), Yan Lianke (China), Marie Ndiaye (France), Josip Novakovich (Canada), Marilynne Robinson (U.S.), Vladimir Sorokin (Russia) and Peter Stamm (Switzerland).
Previous winners include Philip Roth, Alice Munro, Chinua Achebe and Ismail Kadaré.
An offshoot of the more famous annual Man Booker Prize, it recognises a writer for his or her continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.
“Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature,’’ a spokesperson of Man Group, which sponsors the two prizes, said.
“I’ll like to share it with Indian writers”
Special Correspondent writes from Bangalore:
“It is an honour, but it is an honour I would want to share with the innumerable Indian language authors who are excellent,” said 80-year-old Mr. Ananthamurthy, reacting to his being selected as a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2013.
Speaking to The Hindu, the Jnanpith Award-winner, said: “Some of our own writers like Kuvempu and Gopalakrishna Adiga and many others are world-class writers who have remained invisible for the lack of translations.”
He said the tendency to use “vernacular” as a pejorative word and deride Indian language literature as below par was unfortunate. “Let us remember that Shakespeare wrote in English when the language was nothing but a vernacular.”