Nobel laureates Saul Bellow, Gunter Grass and Gabriel Garcia Marquez were among 18 finalists announced Friday for the first-ever Man International Booker Prize, a lifetime achievement award worth about $115,000.
"For us, these are 18 authors who combine uniqueness and universality and remind us irresistibly of the joy of reading," said novelist John Casey, chairman of the Booker judging panel. Casey spoke at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Other authors cited include Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe of Japan; Americans Philip Roth, John Updike and Cynthia Ozick; Canada's Margaret Atwood; Britain's Ian McEwan; and Egypt's Naguib Mahfouz.
Also nominated were Ismail Kadare, Milan Kundera, Stanislaw Lem, Doris Lessing, Tomas Eloy Martinez, Muriel Spark, Antonio Tabucchi and A.B. Yehoshua.
The winner will be announced in June. The prize is to be awarded every two years "to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language."