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John le Carre Withdraws From Man Booker International Prize

John Le Carre, author of
John Le Carre, author of "A Most Wanted Man," poses in this photo taken on June 11, 2008. His book, published by Hodder & Stoughton in the U.K. and by Scribner in the U.S., retails for 18.99 pounds ($28). Photographer: Cristian Barnett/Hodder & Stoughton via Bloomberg News

John le Carre withdrew from the 60,000 pound ($96,250) Man Booker International Prize, saying he doesn’t compete for literary awards.

Le Carre was tapped as one of 13 finalists, including Philip Roth and Marilynne Robinson of the U.S. and Philip Pullman of the U.K., who were announced in a news conference held today at the University of Sydney.

“I am enormously flattered to be named as a finalist of the 2011 Man Booker International Prize,” le Carre said in a statement published on the award’s website. “However, I do not compete for literary prizes and have therefore asked for my name to be withdrawn.”

First bestowed on Albanian writer Ismail Kadare in 2005, Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to recognize a living author’s achievement in fiction and literary excellence.

The chairman of the judging panel, Rick Gekoski, voiced disappointment at le Carre’s request and said his name would remain on the list.

In addition to le Carre, Pullman, Robinson and Roth, the finalists are Wang Anyi of China; Juan Goytisolo of Spain; James Kelman of the U.K.; Amin Maalouf of Lebanon; David Malouf of Australia; Dacia Maraini of Italy; Rohinton Mistry of India/Canada); Su Tong of China; and Anne Tyler of the U.S., the organizers said.

The winner will be announced at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 18. The contest is sponsored by hedge-fund manager Man Group Plc, which also funds the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

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