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Le Carré becomes the first author to say no to Booker prize shortlist

Spy specialist Le Carré says he doesn’t want the international Booker prize, but the judges say he can’t opt out.

BRITISH THRILLER WRITER John Le Carré has asked for his name to be withdrawn from the shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize, saying that he doesn’t do literary awards.

The author says he was “enormously flattered” to be considered for the honour, but that he “doesn’t compete for literary prizes”.  He’s the first person in the international Booker Prize’s history to turn down the chance to scoop the €68,000 award.

The Man Booker International prize is a separate honour to the better-known Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It recognises an author’s entire body of work. Le Carré, with more than 20 books under his belt, was a natural choice for judges.

Those judges are now at a loss as to whether the British writer can in fact withdraw from a prize he never entered himself in for. The shortlist is compiled by three judges, who then whittle it down to find a winner.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald the judges say they will keep Le Carré on the shortlist because it’s not an award you can enter yourself for. Writer and critic Carmen Callil, who is on this year’s judging panel quipped: “Did Francis Assisi have a say in whether he was made a saint?”

The Man Booker International Prize may not be trying to canonise John Le Carré, but they might try to give him the prize, whether he likes it or not.

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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