Lydia Davis bags Man Booker Prize

London, May 23 (IANS) American short story writer Lydia Davis was declared the winner of the fifth 60,000 pounds Man Booker International Prize at aceremony held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Her inventive, carefully-crafted and hard to categorise works saw off the challenge from nine other contenders from around the world, a press release Wednesday evening said.

India’s U.R. Ananthamurthy was also one of the contenders for the prestigious prize. The others in the fray were Aharon Appelfeld (Israel), Intizar Husain (Pakistan), Yan Lianke (China), Marie NDiaye (France), Josip Novakovich (Canada), Marilynne Robinson (US), Vladimir Sorokin (Russia) and Peter Stamm (Switzerland).

The judges were Christopher Ricks, Elif Batuman, Aminatta Forna, Yiyun Li and Tim Parks. They recognised that “crafting spare, philosophical and original works, however short, is not for the lazy at all but takes time, skill and effort”.

The prize is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage and “Davis’ achievements are writ large despite often using startlingly few words (some of her longer stories only stretch to two or three pages)”.

“Her work has the brevity and precision of poetry.”

Christopher Ricks, chairman of the judges, said Davis’ “writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations”.

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