UAlbany professor awarded Man Booker Prize

Thursday, May 23, 2013
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— Author Lydia Davis, a writing fellow with the New York State Writers Institute and associate professor and writer-in-residence at the University at Albany, has been awarded the Man Booker International Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of literature.

The award is given every two years to authors of any nationality in order to recognize an outstanding body of work in English or available in English translation. Sir Christopher Ricks, chair of the judges’ panel, said that Davis’s “writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind.”

Davis is primarily a short story writer, and Ricks said her stories “could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations ... There is a vigilance to her stories, and great imaginative attention.”

Previous Booker prize winners include Philip Roth (2011), Alice Munro (2009), Chinua Achebe (2007) and Ismail Kadare (2005). The prize is approximately $91,000.

This coming fall semester at UAlbany, Davis will teach a free Community Writers Workshop over the course of several weeks, open to the public on a competitive basis, under the sponsorship of the New York State Writers Institute. For more information or to apply, visit

Davis has taught Community Writers Workshops for the Institute on five previous occasions. She first visited UAlbany in 2000 as part of the Institute’s Visiting Writers Series, and joined the faculty and became an Institute Writing Fellow in 2002.

Her newest book is “The Collected Stories” (2009), a compilation of stories from four previously published volumes including “Varieties of Disturbance” (2007), “Samuel Johnson is Indignant” (2001), “Almost No Memory” (1997) and “Break it Down” (1986).

Davis received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation award in 2003. A Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France, Davis is also one of the most respected translators into English of French literary fiction by Proust and Flaubert, among others.

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