Le Carré’s wishes to be ignored

British author John le Carré will remain on the shortlist for the biennial Man Booker International Prize despite asking judges to withdraw his name from the list of 13 nominees.

“I am enormously flattered to be named as a finalist of 2011 Man Booker International Prize,” said the creator of spy classics including The Spy Who Came In From the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

“However, I do not compete for literary prizes and have therefore asked for my name to be withdrawn,” added the 79-year-old in a statement.

But prize organisers said they would ignore his wishes.

“John le Carré’s name will, of course, remain on the list,” said Rick Gekoski, chair of the Man Booker International Prize 2011 judges.

“We are disappointed that he wants to withdraw from further consideration because we are great admirers of his work.”

Body of work
Also on the nominees’ list for the award, the winner of which will be announced in Sydney on May 18, are Philip Roth, Rohinton Mistry and Philip Pullman.

The prize is worth £60 000, and living authors whose works of fiction are either originally in English or generally available in English translation are eligible.

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

In 2011, Chinese writers feature in the 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.

Three U.S. authors appear — Roth, Marilynne Robinson and Anne Tyler — and three British — James Kelman, le Carre and Pullman.

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. — Reuters

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Mike Collett White
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