2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature Finalists Announced
The nine finalists for the biannual, $50,000 Neustadt Prize have been announced. Interestingly, the shortlist is formed by having nine nominators each suggest a single writer. Here are the nominees, along with their nominator:
Cesar Aira, nominated by Cristina Rivera-Garza
Mia Couto, nominated by Gabriella Ghermandi
Duong Thu Huong, nominated by Andrew Lam
Edward P. Jones, nominated by Laleh Khadivi
Ilya Kaminsky, nominated by Lauren Camp
Chang-rae Lee, nominated by Krys Lee
Edouard Maunick, nominated by Ananda Devi
Haruki Murakami, nominated by Deji Olukotun
Ghassan Zaqtan, nominated by Fady Joudah
Strangely, each juror also picks a “representative text,” which it seems is what the jury makes their pick based on. This would obviously preference an author like Edward P. Jones, who is more given to writing relatively few long, laborious novels, rather than an author like Cesar Aira, whose work is based more on a career-wide project than any one book.
Also strange about this award are some of its past nominees and winners. The 2012 shortlist, for instance, included Bob Dylan (the site doesn’t say what his “representative work” was). In 2004 J.M. Coetzee was nominated by two jurors (did he get two representative works?)
All that said, the award does have an impressive geographical reach, regularly coming up with shorlists stuffed full of authors that will be little known to even the most ardent lovers of international literature.