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THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2015 László Krasznahorkai announced as winner

THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2015 László Krasznahorkai announced as winner




László Krasznahorkai announced as winner



  • László Krasznahorkai, from Hungary, writes in Hungarian
  • Awarded prestigious cultural prize of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize
  • George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet to share £15,000 translator’s prize
  • Szirtes’ translation of  Satantango won the Best Translated Book Award in 2013 and Mulzet’s translation of Seiobo There Below won the Best Translated Book Award in 2014


Innovative Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai is tonight announced as the winner of the sixth Man Booker International Prize at an award ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Krasznahorkai was chosen from a list of ten eminent contenders from around the world.


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


Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr.  In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.


Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.


The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.


The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work:


‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’


Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented:


‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai  is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’


Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:


‘I would like to congratulate László Krasznahorkai and all the finalists from ten countries around the world. We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker International Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors and translators. The prize also underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as 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 literary excellence and we are honoured to support that.’


Krasznahorkai has chosen to split the £15,000 translator’s prize between two translators, George Szirtes (who translated Satantango and The Melancholy of Resistance) and Ottilie Mulzet (who translated Seiobo There Below). Szirtes is a Hungarian-born poet who came to the UK as a refugee. He has won a number of prizes for his poetry, including the T S Eliot Prize. He has also translated Sándor Márai amongst others.


Ottilie Mulzet is a Hungarian translator of poetry and prose, as well as a literary critic. She has worked as the English-language editor of the internet journal of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Prague, and her translations appear regularly at Hungarian Literature Online.


László Krasznahorkai will be interviewed by Marina Warner at the Hay Festival on Sunday 24 May at 7pm.


The Man Booker International Prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  The 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.  Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.




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Notes to Editors


  • The winner of the Man Booker International Prize is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers.  An author can only win the award once. In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable and in accordance with the rules of the separate prize for translation, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.


  • The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco, Books and Arts Editor of The Economist.


  • The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation have appointed Gaby Wood as the next Literary Director of the Foundation. She succeeds Ion Trewin, who sadly died last month. Gaby will take over full responsibility for the Man Booker Prize at the conclusion of this year’s prize. The literary direction of the 2015 prize will in the interim be handled by Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and Books and Arts Editor of The Economist.


  • Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides administrative back-up. Photographs of the judges are available from Four Colman Getty.



  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are:  Richard Cable  - publisher, Random House; Mark Chilton - Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Basil Comely - BBC TV; James Daunt - Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas - Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson - writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns - literary agent; Peter Kemp - chief fiction reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton - publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Books and Arts Editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Emmanuel Roman - Chief Executive Officer, Man Group; Eve Smith - Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Robert Topping - Topping & Company Booksellers


  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Jonathan Taylor CBE – Chair, former Chairman of Booker plc; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer;  Baroness Kennedy QC - former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Sir Andrew Motion - Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate; James Naughtie - broadcaster; Christopher Pearce - former Finance Director of Rentokil plc and Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.


  • Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents


  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002. A leading alternative investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as the firm’s 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 literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support.


  • Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, and a leader in high-alpha, liquid investment strategies. Across its four investment managers (Man AHL, Man FRM, Man GLG and Man Numeric), Man Group has a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products across equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager solutions. At 31 March 2015, Man Group’s funds under management were $78.1 billion. Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Further information can be found at


  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide.  It serves over 350,000 independent businesses.



The Judges


Marina Warner (Chair)

Marina Warner 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, and is now Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London. She was elected a fellow of All Souls’ College, Oxford in 2013. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, and the President of the British Comparative Literature Association.  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 Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights, which won a National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Truman Capote Prize and a Sheikh Zayed Prize. Her most recent book Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale was published in October 2o14. A collection of short stories, Fly Away Home, will be published by Salt in September. She was made DBE in 2015, and awarded the Holberg Prize the same year. Marina Warner lives in North London.


Nadeem Aslam

Nadeem Aslam is the author of four highly acclaimed novels: Season of the Rainbirds, which won a Betty Trask Award, Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kiriyama Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC prize, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and a New York Times Notable Book in 2004, The Wasted Vigil, and, most recently, The Blind Man's Garden. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in Pakistan, Nadeem Aslam lives in England.


Elleke Boehmer

Elleke Boehmer is a novelist, critic and academic specialising in African and Indian literatures in English. She is the author of four novels, including Screens again the Sky (shortlisted for the David Higham Prize, 1990), Bloodlines (shortlisted for the SANLAM prize, 2000), and Nile Baby (2008).  She has published monographs, editions and anthologies, amongst others, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995, 2005) and Stories of Women (2005).  Her biography Nelson Mandela (2008) has been widely translated and her edition of Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys was a 2004 bestseller. She is Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College. Later this year she will publish Indian Arrivals 1870-1915 and The Shouting in the Dark, a novel.


Edwin Frank

The editorial director of the New York Review Classics series since its beginning in 1999, Edwin Frank was born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1960 and educated at Harvard and Columbia University. He has published in The New York Review of Books and The Nation, among other journals, and is the author of three books of poetry, The Further Adventures of Pinocchio, Stack and Snake Train (2015). Currently he is at work on a history of the 20th-century novel.


Wen-chin Ouyang

Wen-chin Ouyang is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London. Born in Taiwan and raised in Libya, she completed her BA in Arabic at Tripoli University and PhD Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University in New York City. She taught Arabic language, literature and culture at Columbia, University of Chicago and University of Virginia before she moved to London. She has written extensively on classical and modern Arabic narrative and literary criticism. She is the author of Literary Criticism in Medieval Arabic-Islamic Culture: The Making of a Tradition (1997), Poetics of Love in the Arabic Novel (2012) and Politics of Nostalgia in the Arabic Novel (2013). She has also published widely on The Thousand and One Nights, often in comparison with classical and modern Arabic narrative traditions, European and Hollywood cinema, magic realism, and Chinese storytelling. She is Editor-in-Chief of Middle Eastern Literatures and a member of the editorial board of Bulletin of SOAS. She founded and co-edits Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature. She chaired the editorial board of Middle East in London Magazine (2007-2008) and contributes regularly to Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. A native speaker of Arabic and Chinese, she has been working towards Arabic-Chinese comparative literary and cultural studies, including Silk Road Studies.




Four Colman Getty

 19 May 2015