Lydia Davis, an American writer of short stories —some of them just a single line long — has won the £60,000 ($93,230 Cdn) Man Booker International Prize.
She was named the winner in London Wednesday, coming out ahead of nine international contenders.
Davis, 65, has written nine collections of short stories and one novel, The End of the Story. She also is known for her translations of French writers such as Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert, which earned her the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government.
Her longer short stories are two or three or as many as nine pages, while others can be as brief as a paragraph or even just a sentence.
The judging panel, chaired by Christopher Beck, said her work has the brevity and precision of poetry and praised her for crafting spare, philosophical and original works.
Davis’s "writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorize them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations," the jury said in its citation.
A professor of creative writing at the University of Albany, she is considered an influence on many young American writers, among them Dave Eggers.
In winning the International Man Booker Prize, Davis joins just four other writers — Ismail Kadaré, Chinua Achebe, Philip Roth and Canada’s Alice Munro, also a master of the short story.