Born in Newark, New Jersey, Philip Roth went on to become one of the most awarded American writers of his generation.

Roth was perhaps best known for his 1969 novel Portnoy’s Complaint, and for his late-1990s trilogy comprising the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000).

He won the National Book Award at the age of 26 for his first book, Goodbye Columbus (1960) and again for Sabbath’s Theater (1995). In 2001, he was awarded the gold medal for fiction by The American Academy of Arts and Letters. His many other awards include the PEN/Nabokov Award in 2006 and in 2007 he became the first recipient of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for Achievement in American Fiction. 

Roth taught creative writing at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Iowa and Princeton University. He later continued his academic career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught comparative literature before retiring from teaching in 1991. Roth’s 31st book, Nemesis, was published in 2010, the same year that he was awarded the 2010 National Humanities Media by US President Barack Obama in the White House.

He was shortlisted for The Man Booker International Prize 2005 and 2007 and was winner of The Man Booker International Prize 2011.

Philip Roth

I would like to thank the judges of the Man Booker Prize for awarding me this esteemed prize. One of the particular pleasures I’ve had as a writer is to have my work read internationally, despite all the heartaches of translation that that entails.

— Philip Roth 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.