Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists Announced, And There Are Four Women

Newbies reign supreme on the list of Man Booker International Prize 2015 finalists. None of the 10 fiction writers have ever appeared on a previous list for this award, so tough luck banking on the underdog this year. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the also-famous Man Booker Prize, as it takes into account an author's entire body of work, not just a single book published in the time frame. The only requirement is the author's work must be either originally written in English or be generally available in an English translation. The award is given out once every two years from a network of former judges and winners of the two prizes, and publishing companies have zero influence over the decision.

Not only is this a rookie's year to shine in the prize, writers whose work has been translated into English make up 80 percent of the finalists, which is a record. And each author comes from a different country across the globe, including one from our home, the U.S. of A. And hooray, there are four women on the list! In no particular order, here's the list of finalists and their home countries:

  • César Aira (Argentina)
  • Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
  • Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
  • Mia Couto (Mozambique)
  • Amitav Ghosh (India)
  • Fanny Howe (United States of America)
  • Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
  • László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
  • Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
  • Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)

The U.S.'s Fanny Howe (above) is one of four women on the list, in addition to Hoda Barakat, Marlene van Niekerk, and Maryse Condé. Chair of the judging committee, Professor Marina Warner, commented on her experience reading for the award:

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. 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 last two winners of the prize hailed from the U.S., Lydia Davis and Phillip Roth, the latter of which was a controversial decision, leading to one member's resignation from the judging committee. Canada's Alice Munroe took home the 2009 prize. Nigeria's Chinua Achebe won in 2007, and Albania's Ismail Kadare won the inaugural award in 2005.

The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, will be given out May 19.