Writer David Grossman wins the Man Booker International Prize

For his novel A Horse Walks Into A Bar), selected from among 126 competing titles, David Grossman won the Man Booker International Prize 2017 and pocketed, together with his translator Jessica Cohen, a check for 50,000 pounds sterling (56,800 euros). He received his award at a dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

a “supreme example of the profession of writer”

The novel, published by Jonathan Cape, presents a painful portrait of Israeli society. Located in the small coastal town of Netanya in Israel, it features a comedian, Dovaleh Greenstein, whose show produced in a small seedy theater crumbles before the eyes of stunned spectators.

A main character “difficult and flawed, but quite convincing”, says the president of the jury, Nick Barley, who adds: “David Grossman attempted an ambitious high-flying act with this novel and he succeeded in spectacular fashion.”. “We were blown away by Mr. Grossman’s willingness to take both emotional and stylistic risks: every sentence counts, every word is important in this supreme example of the writing profession,” concludes the president of the jury.

Works translated into 36 languages

David Grossman, 63, was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works, translated into 36 languages. In France, he received the Foreign Medici Prize in 2011 for A woman running away from the ad (Threshold, 2011). In his novels, he addresses the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians, as the two peoples live trapped in a conflict that has lasted for decades.

A horse walks into a bar is the writer’s first novel since the death of his son, Uri, in 2006, in southern Lebanon during his military service. After this tragedy, he had published only one account in the form of a poem, Fallen out of time (Threshold, 2012).

Grossman’s work was preferred to Compass (Actes Sud, 2015) by Frenchman Mathias Enard, Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by the Danish Dorthe Nors (not translated into French), Judas (Gallimard, 2016) by the Israeli Amos Oz, Fever Dream from Argentina Samanta Schweblin (not translated into French) and The Invisibles (Gallimard, 2017) by Norwegian Roy Jacobsen.

The Man Booker International Prize evolves

Created in 2005, the Man Booker International Prize has so far rewarded the entire work of an author every two years. Since 2016, the prize has been awarded each year for a work of fiction, translated and edited by a British publisher between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017. Last year, the South Korean writer Han Kang who was crowned for The Vegetarian, translated by Deborah Smith and published by Portobello.

An adaptation of David Grossman’s novel will be offered in the form of a reading-concert during the Avignon festival, but also at the Théâtre de la Colline next season. Directed by Blandine Masson, the radio creation notably includes the actors Jérôme Kircher (Dovalé) and Wajdi Mouawad (Avishaï Lazar).

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Writer David Grossman wins the Man Booker International Prize

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