Students Staff

14 August 2013

Essex academic and writer to chair judges for 2015 Man Booker International Prize

Professor Marina Warner announced as Chair of the Judges for the 2015 International Man Booker Prize from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Professor Marina Warner CBE, from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, has been chosen as the chair of judges for the prestigious 2015 Man Booker International Prize.

This is the sixth time the biennial prize will be awarded and the judges will spend the next two years identifying writers from around the world who have made an outstanding contribution to literature.

The judging panel will also include novelist Nadeem Aslam; writer and critic Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series Edwin Frank and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.

Professor Warner, who was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1988 for her novel The Lost Father, said: “I was delighted and very honoured to be asked. The direction of this prize is towards opening up the field of what you might read, getting out of the parochial narrow confines of the latest bestseller this year and thinking a little bit more widely about literature as a global phenomenon.”

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Prize, said: “The judges of the Man Booker International Prize 2015 are steeped in the literature of all seven continents. As well as their professional knowledge as writers, critics and academics, they will bring the energy and enthusiasm of devoted readers to the task in hand.”

The Man Booker International Prize, worth £60,000, is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It is presented every two years to a living author for a body of work published either originally in English or generally available in translation in the English language.

The prize also offers £15,000 for further translations of the winner's books.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers. The prize has previously been awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005, Chinua Achebe in 2007, Alice Munro in 2009, Philip Roth in 2011 and Lydia Davis in 2013.

The Man Booker International Prize has already established itself as a leading accolade in world literature, with a reputation for highlighting a wealth of international authors.

The judges’ list of finalists, eight writers under serious consideration for the prize, will be announced in early 2015. The winner of the next Man Booker International Prize will be announced in early summer 2015 at an awards ceremony in London.

The Prize is sponsored by Man, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker Prize in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage, and is only awarded every two years. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.

Literature and creative writing: Professor Marina Warner from University of Essex on Vimeo.

One of the challenges for the International Prize judges is coming up with an initial reading list, as there are no submissions for the prize. The Booker Prize Foundation has decided to draw on the wealth of knowledge and experience of the former judges and winning authors of the Man Booker and Man Booker International Prizes, and is asking them to join a new Man Booker International Prize e-Council, to advise on authors for the judges to consider, and in due course, on new judges for the prize.

Short biography

Professor Marina Warner CBE is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; her works include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols and fairy tales. She was born in London of an Italian mother and an English father who was a bookseller. She read French and Italian as an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she is now an honorary fellow. Since 2004 she has been a professor in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at Essex. She has been honoured with doctorates from several universities and awarded many international fellowships.  Her books include Alone of All Her Sex, a study of the cult of the Virgin Mary; From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairytales and their Tellers; and most recently Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, which won a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Truman Capote Prize and a Sheikh Zayed Prize. She is currently finishing Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction, and working on a new novel entitled Inventory of a Life Mislaid.

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