Lydia Davis wins Man Booker Prize

  • Updated: May 22, 2013 - 6:48 PM
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American writer Lydia Davis, whose stories are among the shortest ever written, has been awarded the Man Booker International Prize.

Davis, 65, a professor of creative writing at the University of Albany, has been described as the master of a literary form largely of her own invention. She has written some short stories of conventional length, but she is known for writing stories that range as long as nine pages to a single sentence. The fiction award, announced in London on Wednesday, is given every two years to a living author for “an achievement in fiction on the world stage.” It is accompanied by a prize of about $90,000.

Booker International panel chairman Christopher Ricks said Davis’ stories embraced so many literary structures that it was hard to narrow them down to a single label. “Should we simply concur with the official title and dub them stories?” Ricks said in a statement announcing the prize. “Or perhaps miniatures? Anecdotes? Essays? Jokes? Parables? Fables? Texts? Aphorisms, or even apophthegms? Prayers, or perhaps wisdom literature? Or might we settle for observations?”

Davis is considered influential by a generation of writers including David Eggers, Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace. Her new collection, “Can’t and Won’t,” is to be published in the United States in 2014.

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