Neustadt Prize Finalists Named as ‘Diverse Voices’ in ‘Important Literature’

In News by Dennis Abrams

‘Important literature knows no borders,’ according to the sponsor of the Neustadt International Prize, and its new round of finalists are from France, India, Pakistan, Russia, and the States.

Neustadt International Prize finalists for 2017 are, top row from left, Emmanuel Carrère, Edwidge Danticat, Amitav Ghosh, Aracelis Girmay, and Mohsin Hamid. On the lower row, from left, are Jamaica Kincaid, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Smith, and Ludmila Ulitskaya.

Of special interest to those who follow Emmanuel Carrère’s work, the French novelist, journalist, screenwriter, and biographer–and one of the nine finalists for the Nuestadt–has also this week been named winner of Guadalajara International Book Fair’s Romance Languages Prize. We have that story for you here.—Porter Anderson

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘This Truly International Slate of Finalists’
The US$50,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature has announced its shortlist. The winner is to be announced November 9.

The prize recognizes significant contributions to the world of literature and is unusual because it honors poets, novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights—all are equally eligible. Since 2003, it’s been awarded every other year (alternating with the NSK Prize in children’s literature) to a living writer in recognition of a body of work that proves significant literary achievement.

Notable past winners include Nobel Prize recipients Czesław Miłosz, Gabriel García Márquez, and Tomas Tranströmer. The 2016 Neustadt Prize winner was exiled Croatian author Dubravka Ugrešić.

The nine finalists are listed here with representative texts:

  • Emmanuel Carrère: The Kingdom, France
  • Edwidge Danticat: The Dew Breaker; Krik? Krak!, Haiti and USA
  • Amitav Ghosh: Sea of Poppies,India
  • Aracelis Girmay: The Black Maria; Kingdom Animalia, USA
  • Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Pakistan
  • Jamaica Kincaid: Mr. Potter, Antigua and USA
  • Yusef Komunyakaa: Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems, USA
  • Patricia Smith: Incendiary Art, USA
  • Ludmila Ulitskaya: The Big Green Tent; Medea and Her Children, Russia

The program’s jury of nine is comprises creative writers, and the winner announcement will occur during the Neustadt Festival, which this year honors the 2017 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature laureate, Marilyn Nelson.

In a prepared statement for the press, RC Davis-Undiano, who directs the sponsoring World Literature Today magazine, is quoted, commending “such a diverse and powerful group of writers representing the Neustadt Prize this year” in its group of finalists.

“Literature is a powerful voice that inspires, influences, and teaches us about the world beyond ourselves. This truly international slate of finalists–with diverse voices from…as far away as Pakistan and Russia—reminds us that important literature knows no borders.”

An endowment from the Neustadt family ensures the award in perpetuity. World Literature Today is based at University of Oklahoma and includes prize sponsorship as part of its mission in literary coverage at the international, state, and university level.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.