I know you’ve been waiting impatiently all spring for the announcement of the Man Booker International Prize (and I hope you’ve been enjoying the luscious shortlist meanwhile). It’s a big year for this prize, since it’s the first year that it’s being presented in this form. In the past, the Man Booker Prize was awarded every 2 years for an author’s life’s work, and was open to authors writing in any language, including English. Starting in 2016, the Booker Prize Foundation will award two prizes each year, the Man Booker Prize for a work in English, and the Man Booker International Prize, which will be awarded every year and will honor a single book published in English translation in the U.K. during the previous year; this new prize has been merged with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, which through 2015 honored a single work in translation. The hefty Man Booker International purse of £50,000 is split equally between author and translator.
And your wait is now over. At a clearly quite posh ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London this evening (remember they’re 5 hours ahead of NYC), the announcement was made that the prize has gone to translator Deborah Smith and author Han Kang for The Vegetarian. Deborah Smith is, among other things, the founder of Tilted Axis Press, a publishing house specializing in literature by women writers from Asian countries, working to counteract the much-bewailed dearth of international literature by women available in English translation, so I’m especially glad to see her honored for her work. Big congratulations!