UCT to host 2015 Man Booker International Prize

19 May 2014 - 11:30

UCT Department of English Language & Literature has entered into a partnership with the prestigious Man Booker International Prize which will see the University of Cape Town hosting the event in 2015. The Man Booker International Prize is worth £60,000 and is awarded every two years to a writer who has published excellent works of fiction in English. The award is based on a writer’s body of work rather than on a single book. 

According to Associate Professor Meg Samuelson, (Head of Department) the judging panel will meet on campus next year to deliberate and will announce their list of finalists from UCT in March 2015. In preparation for their visit, the English Department will run a series of seminars and discussions in the preceding month in which writers and intellectuals will be invited to reflect on the Man Booker Prize and world literature in and from the global South.  A number of additional events are planned for this visit. These include: a public seminar in which the judges will speak to the topic of “where is world literature” and on the history of the Prize; a series of lunchtime and evening events in the English Department at which panels composed of individual judges and members of the Faculty of Humanities will reflect on questions of world literature, postcolonial style, travelling and translated texts as well as cultural institutions, while also having some close engagements with graduate students and students in UCT’s Creative Writing Programme. Judges will also engage with learners in the SHAWCO schools projects. 

The 2015 Judging panel from L-R: Nadeem Aslam, Wen-Chin Ouyang, Marina Warner, Edwin Frank and Elleke Boehmer. Photograph by Roger Blagg.

This will be an important visit because it is an endorsement of the caliber of English teaching at UCT.   “The benefits of this partnership with Man Booker International Prize are that we’ll be part of critical discussions relating to the future direction of the discipline, UCT will receive international publicity as a centre of reading and writing in the global south today, and public and school engagements with the judges will seek to advance local reading and writing cultures ” says Meg. 

JM Coetzee, Emeritus Professor in the UCT Department of English Language and Literature, is one of the few writers ever to have won the Man Booker Prize twice.