American Lydia Davis Wins Man Booker International Prize

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

Lydia Davis

By Edward Nawotka

The judges of the Man Booker International Prize have done what recent Nobel Prize committees have refused to  do: honor an American for “achievement in fiction on the world stage.”

Lydia Davis was honored with the biennial prize today at a ceremony in London, taking home £60,000 ($90,000).

The chair of the judging panel, Sir Christopher Ricks, praised her work during the ceremony, stating:

“Lydia Davis’ writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind,” Ricks said. “Just how to categorize them? Should we simply concur with the official title and dub them stories? Or perhaps miniatures? Anecdotes? Essays? Jokes? Parables? Fables? Texts? Aphorisms, or even apophthegms? Prayers, or perhaps wisdom literature? Or might we settle for observations? There is vigilance to her stories, and great imaginative attention. Vigilance as how to realize things down to the very word or syllable; vigilance as to everybody’s impure motives and illusions of feeling.”

Davis’ collected short stories were published in 2009 and she’s also a respected translator from the French, with translations of  Proust’s Swann’s Way in 2004 and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in 2010.


About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.