Thursday, 23 May 2013


Lydia Davis - photo: The Guardian
I am delighted that Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International Prize. This is a welcome shot in the arm to those of use who love/write/value short-short stories and flash fiction. Lydia read at both Cúirt in Galway and the Cork Short Story Festival last year and she divided opinion among writer friends of mine. I thought she was fab and bought her collected, a hefty volume of very short prose works. I highly recommend it.

From the Man Booker people:

"I was recently denied a writing prize because they said I was lazy." runs one of Lydia Davis's two-sentence short stories. Well not any more. Davis has just been awarded the fifth Man Booker International Prize at an award ceremony 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. The judges - Professor Sir Christopher Ricks, Elif Batuman, Aminatta Forna, Yiyun Li and Tim Parks - 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, worth £60,000, is awarded for an achievement in fiction on the world stage and Davis's 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. Sir Christopher Ricks, chairman of the judges, said her "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." Davis then is not like any other writer and she follows, and contrasts with, the previous winners of the prize -  Ismail Kadaré, Chinua Achebe, Alice Munro and Philip Roth.

Read more about the Man Booker International winner announcement here


shaunag said...

I was just delighted to hear of her win, I love her work and also the braveness - in brevity - of some of her pieces.


Me too, Shauna. I rave about her to everyone but her work puzzles people. One pal of mine said there is 'no art' in her work (!!!!)