The Man Booker International Prize is to merge with the Foreign Fiction Prize, in what seems to be a second democratic prize-based story of the day. The merger sees the Man Booker International keep it's name, but be awarded annually rather than every other year from 2016.
Not only will this mean greater continuity for the award, but it also ensures a regular tribute to brilliant translated work, and a constant reminder of how much...just isn't translated.
The £50,000 award for the winning title is to take on the marvellous sensibilities of the Foreign Fiction Prize, being shared equally between both the author and translator. Shortlisted authors and translators will also receive £1,000 each, and to us that seems like a sensible bit of parity and a fine merging of ideals.
Fiammetta Rocco, administrator of the Man Booker International Prize, has a goal in mind than simply shared monies though, telling The Bookseller, "What we are hoping is that this prize is going to encourage publishers to get more work translated and get more work published in Britain".
A mere 3% of the titles published in the UK and America on a yearly basis are translated. About that, and the merger itself, Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Man Booker Foundation, has said:
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.
We hope so too. Greater amounts of great fiction being read by a wider audience can only be positive. What's more, after the revelation today that Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell wants to share her prize money, the story has left us feeling even more positive about the book industry. There seems a clear movement towards knowledge, entertainment, credit, and more books for all.
Something we certainly support.
The 2015 Man Booker International Prize was won by László Krasznahorkai.
Foyles's selection of his works is here.
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