Philip Roth wins Man Booker International Prize

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "American Pastoral" and "Portnoy's Complaint" wins award for body of literary work.

May 18, 2011 10:49
1 minute read.
Philip Roth

philip roth 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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SYDNEY - Philip Roth, the much-lauded author of "Portnoy's Complaint", won the biennial Man Booker International Prize on Wednesday, adding to a collection of prizes that includes two National Book Awards.

Roth, whose work includes his noted 1959 debut "Goodbye, Columbus", has also won the Pulitzer Prize for "American Pastoral", featuring favored narrator Nathan Zuckerman.

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In October, he told Reuters that he disliked e-books and the distracting influences of modern technology, which he felt diminish the ability to appreciate the aesthetic experience of reading books on paper.

"It is a shame. It is also what is happening, and there is nothing at all to do about it," he said.

The prize, announced during the Sydney Writers' Festival, is worth 60,000 pounds for the winner, and living authors whose works of fiction are either originally in English or generally available in English translation are eligible.

It honors a writer's body of work as opposed to the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction, which is awarded for a single book.

Other nominees for the award included Rohinton Mistry, Philip Pullman and Anne Tyler.

British author John LeCarre, known for spy classics including "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold", had rejected his nomination, saying he did not compete for literary prizes, but the judges kept him on the shortlist anyway, citing their admiration for his work.

Chinese writers featured in the 2011 shortlist for the first time in the form of Wang Anyi, who wrote "The Song of Everlasting Sorrow" published in 1996, and Su Tong, whose novella "Wives and Concubines" was the basis of the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated movie "Raise the Red Lantern".

Previous winners of the award were Canadian writer Alice Munro (2009), Nigeria's Chinua Achebe (2007), and Albanian Ismail Kadare, who scooped the inaugural prize in 2005.

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony in London on June 28.

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