Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2013
Lydia Davis was born in Massachusetts, United States and is now a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany, New York.
She is best known for two contrasting accomplishments: translating from the French, to great acclaim, Marcel Proust’s complex Du Côté de Chez Swann (Swann’s Way) and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary; and writing short stories, a number of them among the shortest stories ever written. Much of her fiction may be seen under the aspect of philosophy or poetry or short story, and even the longer creations may be as succinct as two or three pages. She has been described by the critic James Wood, in his latest collection, The Fun Stuff and Other Essays, as ‘a tempestuous Thomas Bernhard’. Most of all, as Craig Morgan Teicher of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in 2009, the year that Davis’s Collected Stories appeared as a single volume: She is “the master of a literary form largely of her own invention.”
I think, what I would say is that, it’s really wonderful to be
a short story writer and win this prize because often fiction
is equated with writing novels, but there are the humble
practitioners of the short story too.— Lydia Davis on winning the award.
Between 2005 - 2015, the Man Booker International Prize recognised one writer for their achievement in fiction.
Worth £60,000, the prize was awarded every two years to a living author who had published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.
The winner was chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there were no submissions from publishers.
The Man Booker International Prize was different from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlighted one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In focusing on overall literary excellence, the judges considered a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.