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Judges announced for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize

Judges announced for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize



The judges for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize are announced today, 20 July 2018, as submissions for the 2019 prize open.

Chaired by Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, the panel consists of:  writer, translator and president of English PEN Maureen Freely; philosopher Professor Angie Hobbs FRSA; novelist and satirist Elnathan John; and essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra.

2019 will be the fourth year of the evolved Man Booker International Prize, which was originally launched in 2005. The 2019 judging panel will be looking for the best work of translated fiction, selected from entries published in the UK and Ireland between 1 May 2018 and 30 April 2019.

The 2018 prize was won by the Polish author, Olga Tokarczuk, and her translator, Jennifer Croft, for Flights, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. The £50,000 prize was split equally between author and translator. Flights sold over 10,000 copies in the week following the winner announcement.

In her acceptance speech Olga Tokarczuk thanked Jennifer Croft for her efforts in getting the English edition of the book published, and commented on the translator’s talent: “She conveyed my work in such a fragile, beautiful way that it is really [as though we were] witness to a miracle; that a story written in one language can be so read in another language.”

Bettany Hughes, Chair of the judges for 2019, comments: “As a species we are motivated not by systems but by stories. I see this in play from the very beginning of human society. Today it matters what stories we imagine, share, listen to. I’m truly delighted to have the chance to celebrate the most inspirational work from across the world – it will be an honour to read each and every one of the books submitted.”

Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize, adds: “The judges of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize are readers, writers, broadcasters, academics and translators. They are united by their global outlook, their curiosity about what fiction can accomplish and their passion for literature in translation.”

The “Man Booker Dozen” of 12 or 13 books will be announced in March 2019 and the shortlist of six books in April 2019. The winner will be announced in May 2019.

The prize is sponsored by Man Group, an active investment management firm that also sponsors the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest in contemporary literature.


About the judges

Bettany Hughes FHA, FSA (chair) is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. She is the recipient of the Norton Medlicott Medal for History, has been made a Distinguished Friend of Oxford (DFO) for services to the academic and outreach work of Oxford University. Later in 2018 she will be given Europa Nostra’s lifetime achievement award.

Her books have been shortlisted for the Writers Guild and Runciman Awards and she was chair of the 2011 Orange Prize for Women's Fiction (now called the Women’s Prize for Fiction). Hughes is the author of numerous books, including Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore; The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for The Good Life – which was a New York Times bestseller – and Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities – which was a Sunday Times bestseller. She is a Research Fellow at Kings College London and a Professor of History at the New College of the Humanities. Bettany has long championed the re-writing of women back into history and is a patron of a number of international charities. She also co-founded the documentary production company SandStone Global.

Maureen Freely has written seven novels – including Sailing Through Byzantium, Enlightenment and The Other Rebecca. Also well known as a translator of the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, she has brought into English several classics and works by Turkey’s rising literary stars.  For many years she worked as a journalist in London, writing about literature, social justice, and human rights.  As chair of the Translator’s Association and more recently as President and Chair of English PEN, she has campaigned for writers and freedom of expression internationally.  She teaches at the University of Warwick.

Professor Angie Hobbs FRSA is a leading academic whose chief interests are in ancient philosophy and literature, ethics and political theory, and she has published widely in these areas, including Plato and the Hero. After gaining a degree in Classics and a PhD in Ancient Philosophy from, and conducting a Research Fellowship at, the University of Cambridge, she moved to the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick. In 2012 she was appointed Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, a position created for her.  She contributes regularly to radio, TV and other media, and has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Houses of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and Westminster Abbey. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Patron of the Philosophy Foundation and Patron of the Philosophy in Education Project.

Elnathan John is a novelist, lawyer and satirist, whose fiction was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013 and 2015. His debut novel, Born on a Tuesday, a coming-of-age novel about Islam, politics and culture set in northern Nigeria, won a Betty Trask award (2017) and was shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. John writes a weekly satire column for Daily Trust newspapers and is one of Nigeria’s most well-known contemporary satirists. A recipient of the 2018 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, he is currently working on his next project which explores the history of a mountaineer revolt in the 1800s, in what is now north eastern Nigeria. He lives and works in Berlin.

Pankaj Mishra is the author of several books, including From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia (2012), which became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. Pankaj is also a columnist for Bloomberg View and writes literary and political essays for a number of outlets, including the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian, the New Yorker and the London Review of Books. He was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004-2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature. In 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.  |  @ManBookerPrize  |  #MBI2019 | #FinestFiction


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Notes to Editors

  • The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Correspondent of The Economist and 1843. The Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood
  • Books under consideration have been published in English in translation by UK publishers between 1 May 2017 and 30 April 2018
  • The winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2018 was Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft. Since the announcement, Fitzcarraldo Editions has seen a 3-400% increase in sales of the book, and they have also produced a £9.99 winning edition for the first time.
  • There is no restriction on the number of submissions per publisher but this will be kept under review and may change in future years
  • Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up
  • The Man Booker International Prize website includes detailed information about all aspects of the prize and runs regular news bulletins:
  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Mark Chilton – Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Jonty Claypole – Head of Arts, BBC; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson – writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Adam Freudenheim – publisher, Pushkin Press; Derek Johns – author & literary agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Rosanna Konarzewski – Global Head of Communications and Marketing, Man Group; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Correspondent, The Economist and 1843 and Man Booker International Prize Administrator; Michal Shavit – publishing director, Jonathan Cape; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Boyd Tonkin – writer and critic. It is chaired by Gaby Wood, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation
  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) established in 2002. Since then it has been responsible for the award of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and for the Man Booker International Prize since its inauguration in 2005. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC (Chair) – former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Ben Okri OBE – writer and 1991 Booker Prize winner; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation and Sir Ronald Harwood, Baroness Neuberger and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne are Vice Presidents
  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002 and the Man Booker International Prize since its inception in 2005. An active investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and creativity. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prizes play a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support
  • Man Group is a global active investment management firm, which runs $112.7 billion* of client capital in liquid and private markets, managed by investment specialists based around the world. Headquartered in London, the firm has 15 international offices and operates across 25 jurisdictions. Our business has five specialist investment engines, which represent the range of our capabilities: Man AHL, Man Numeric, Man GLG, Man FRM and Man GPM. These engines house numerous investment teams, working collaboratively within the framework of Man Group, with a high degree of investment autonomy. Each team benefits from the strength and resources of the firm’s single operating platform, enabling their primary focus to be seeking to generate alpha for clients. The teams invest across a diverse range of strategies and asset classes with highly specialised approaches, with long only and alternative strategies run on a discretionary and quantitative basis in single and multi-manager formats. Our clients are at the heart of everything we do and we engage in close dialogue with our investors as strategic partners, to understand their particular needs and constraints. Man Group’s investment teams are empowered and supported by our institutional infrastructure and technology, which aims to facilitate the most efficient exposure to markets and effective collaboration across the organisation.

    Through the Man Charitable Trust and sponsorship of the Man Booker Prizes, Man Group is committed to promoting literacy and numeracy on a global scale, and to supporting charitable causes more broadly.

    Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.LN and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Further information can be found at

    *As at 31 March 2018. All investment management and advisory services are offered through the investment “engines” of Man AHL, Man Numeric, Man GLG, Man FRM and Man Global Private Markets (GPM)

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