The Guy Who Stayed Out of the Fold

The list of finalists for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize has been announced. The list includes Australian writer David Malouf. The £60,000 ($95,000) prize is awarded every two years to a writer whose work is widely available in English to recognise a lifetime’s achievement. The prize has been awarded three times: to Albanian Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Nigerian Chinua Achebe in 2007, and Canadian Alice Munro in 2009. The prize website stipulates, “The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions from publishers.”

This year’s list of finalists, announced yesterday, was initially comprised of 13 names: Wang Anyi (China), Juan Goytisolo (Spain), James Kelman (UK), John le Carré (UK), Amin Maalouf (Lebanon), David Malouf (Australia), Dacia Maraini (Italy), Rohinton Mistry (India/Canada), Philip Pullman (UK), Marilynne Robinson (USA), Philip Roth (USA), Su Tong (China) and Anne Tyler (USA).

Almost as soon as the list was announced, John le Carré’s management released an announcement on the writer’s behalf: “I am enormously flattered to be named as a finalist of 2011 Man Booker International Prize. However I do not compete for literary prizes and have therefore asked for my name to be withdrawn.” The chairman of the judging panel’s response was one of disappointment. Rick Gekoski added that the writer of classic Cold War and post-Cold War thrillers like Gorky Park, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Constant Gardener would remain on the list.

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