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Judges announced for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize

Judges announced for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize

The judges for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize are announced today as submissions for the 2019 prize open.

Chaired by Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, the panel consists of:  writer, translator and president of English PEN Maureen Freely; philosopher Professor Angie Hobbs FRSA; novelist and satirist Elnathan John; and essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra.

2019 will be the fourth year of the evolved Man Booker International Prize, which was originally launched in 2005. The 2019 judging panel will be looking for the best work of translated fiction, selected from entries published in the UK and Ireland between 1 May 2018 and 30 April 2019.

The 2018 prize was won by the Polish author, Olga Tokarczuk, and her translator, Jennifer Croft, for Flights, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. The £50,000 prize was split equally between author and translator. Flights sold over 10,000 copies in the week following the winner announcement.

In her acceptance speech Olga Tokarczuk thanked Jennifer Croft for her efforts in getting the English edition of the book published, and commented on the translator’s talent: “She conveyed my work in such a fragile, beautiful way that it is really [as though we were] witness to a miracle; that a story written in one language can be so read in another language.”

Bettany Hughes, Chair of the judges for 2019, comments: “As a species we are motivated not by systems but by stories. I see this in play from the very beginning of human society. Today it matters what stories we imagine, share, listen to. I’m truly delighted to have the chance to celebrate the most inspirational work from across the world – it will be an honour to read each and every one of the books submitted.”

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize, adds: “The judges of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize are readers, writers, broadcasters, academics and translators. They are united by their global outlook, their curiosity about what fiction can accomplish and their passion for literature in translation.”

The “Man Booker Dozen” of 12 or 13 books will be announced in March 2019 and the shortlist of six books in April 2019. The winner will be announced in May 2019.

The prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm that also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest in contemporary literature.


About the judges

Bettany Hughes FHA, FSA (chair) is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. She is the recipient of the Norton Medlicott Medal for History, has been made a Distinguished Friend of Oxford (DFO) for services to the academic and outreach work of Oxford University. Later in 2018 she will be given Europa Nostra’s lifetime achievement award.

Her books have been shortlisted for the Writers Guild and Runciman Awards and she was chair of the 2011 Orange Prize for Women's Fiction (now called the Women’s Prize for Fiction). Hughes is the author of numerous books, including Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for The Good Life – which was a New York Times bestseller – and Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities – which was a Sunday Times bestseller. She is a Research Fellow at Kings College London and a Professor of History at the New College of the Humanities. Bettany has long championed the re-writing of women back into history and is a patron of a number of international charities. She also co-founded the documentary production company SandStone Global.

Maureen Freely has written seven novels – including Sailing Through Byzantium, Enlightenment and The Other Rebecca. Also well known as a translator of the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, she has brought into English several classics and works by Turkey’s rising literary stars.  For many years she worked as a journalist in London, writing about literature, social justice, and human rights.  As chair of the Translator’s Association and more recently as President and Chair of English PEN, she has campaigned for writers and freedom of expression internationally.  She teaches at the University of Warwick.

Professor Angie Hobbs FRSA is a leading academic whose chief interests are in ancient philosophy and literature, ethics and political theory, and she has published widely in these areas, including Plato and the Hero. After gaining a degree in Classics and a PhD in Ancient Philosophy from, and conducting a Research Fellowship at, the University of Cambridge, she moved to the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick. In 2012 she was appointed Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, a position created for her.  She contributes regularly to radio, TV and other media, and has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Houses of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and Westminster Abbey. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Patron of the Philosophy Foundation and Patron of the Philosophy in Education Project.

Elnathan John is a novelist, lawyer and satirist, whose fiction was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and 2015. His debut novel, Born on a Tuesday, a coming-of-age novel about Islam, politics and culture set in northern Nigeria, won a Betty Trask award (2017) and was shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. John writes a weekly satire column for Daily Trust newspapers and is one of Nigeria’s most well-known contemporary satirists. A recipient of the 2018 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, he is currently working on his next project which explores the history of a mountaineer revolt in the 1800s, in what is now north eastern Nigeria. He lives and works in Berlin.

Pankaj Mishra is the author of several books, including From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia (2012), which became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. Pankaj is also a columnist for Bloomberg View and writes literary and political essays for a number of outlets, including the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian, the New Yorker and the London Review of Books. He was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004-2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.