Evolution of the Man Booker International Prize announced

7 July 2015

  • Newly configured prize will focus on the finest in translated fiction
  • Independent Foreign Fiction Prize to join forces with now annual Man Booker International Prize
  • Increased investment with the winning author and translator sharing £52,000 each year

The Booker Prize Foundation today (7 July 2015) announces that the Man Booker International Prize is to evolve from 2016, to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation.

As from 2016, the prize will be awarded annually on the basis of a single book, translated into English and published in the UK, rather than every two years for a body of work. The 2015 Man Booker International Prize highlighted the growing importance of quality fiction in translation, with eight out of ten of the finalists having been originally published in a language other than English. For the 2016 prize, both novels and collections of short stories will be eligible.

As a further acknowledgement of the importance of translation, the £50,000 prize will be divided equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000. This brings the total prize fund to £62,000 per year, compared to the previous £37,500 for the Man Booker International Prize and £10,000 for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

The Man Booker International Prize will join forces with the current Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, with its new terms and conditions of eligibility grounded in those of the IFFP, bringing the best of the IFFP to the new venture. Boyd Tonkin, senior writer on The Independent, who has been on the judging panel for and a champion of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize since 2000, will chair the judges of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. He will also join the Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee after serving his term as chair. A further four judges will be announced in due course. Fiammetta Rocco will continue as Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize.

The new Man Booker International Prize will complement the Man Booker Prize in that the judges will select a longlist of 12 or 13 books next March, followed by a shortlist of six in April, with the winner announced in May 2016.

The symmetrical relationship of the two prizes will ensure that ‘the Man Booker’ can now honour fiction at its finest on a truly international basis.

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments:
‘One of the persistent observations of Man Booker International Prize judges has been that a substantial body of important literary fiction has not been translated into English. We very much hope that this reconfiguration of the prize will encourage a greater interest and investment in translation.

‘The new Man Booker International Prize will complement the Man Booker Prize for Fiction by ensuring that all novels published in English in the UK are eligible for one or other of the prizes. Thereby we will encourage the recognition, reward and readership 0f fiction of the highest quality from all over the world.’

Antonia Byatt, Director Literature and South East at Arts Council England, which has supported the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize said:
‘We are delighted to have been able to support the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize over the last 15 years; the contributions made by Book Trust, The Independent and Taittinger have been equally vital in its success. Over that time the prize’s influence has grown hugely and joining forces with the Man Booker International Prize will take the celebration of translated fiction to the next level. We welcome the Booker Prize Foundation’s commitment to writers, translators and readers alike, and we continue to support literature in translation in a variety of other ways.'

Boyd Tonkin, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize judge and now chair of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize comments: ‘Since its revival, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has through its record of success built a unique reputation as an annual showcase for the very best in global fiction, and for the precious art of the translator. I am delighted that, through the newly configured Man Booker International Prize, even more readers will have the chance to encounter the finest fiction from around the world. It is particularly thrilling to see the translator’s role acknowledged by the equal division of the prize between writer and translator.’

Emmanuel Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:
‘The new, annual Man Booker International Prize will continue to recognise the hard work and creativity of the authors, while further acknowledging the importance of translation and celebrating talent from all over the world. For our business, this is also important as we have become increasingly diverse and globalised. Furthermore the prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education and our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting international literary excellence that we are honoured to support.’

 Full press release

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