Finalists for the 2018 Neustadt International Prize for Literature

Emmanuel Carrère. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Emmanuel Carrère (b. 1957) is a French author, screenwriter, and film director. Carrère studied at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (better known as Sciences Po). Much of his writing, both fiction and nonfiction, centers on the primary themes of the interrogation of identity, the development of illusion, and the direction of reality. Several of his books have been made into films, and he directed the film adaptation of his novel La Moustache. He was the president of the jury of the Book Inter 2003. He was a member of the international jury at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and a member of the jury for the Cinéfoundation and Short Films sections of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Nominated by Zia Haider Rahman / Representative text: The Kingdom


Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story; Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; The Farming of Bones; The Dew Breaker; Create Dangerously; and Claire of the Sea Light. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, Best American Essays 2011, Haiti Noir, and Haiti Noir 2. She has written six books for children and young adults (Anacaona, Behind the Mountains, Eight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s Nightingale, Untwine) as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow. Nominated by Achy Obejas / Representative text: The Dew Breaker



Amitav Ghosh. Photo: Emilio Madrid Kuser

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford, and Alexandria. His book The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two prestigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997, and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2001. In 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel Sea of Poppies (2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008 and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the India Plaza Golden Quill Award. Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has taught in many universities in India and the USA, including Delhi University, Columbia, Queens College, and Harvard. Nominated by Dipika Mukherjee / Representative text: Sea of Poppies



Aracelis Girmay. Photo: Sheila Griffin

Aracelis Girmay is the author of the poetry collections Teeth and Kingdom Animalia, and the collage-based picture book changing, changing. Teeth was published by Curbstone Press under the generous and brilliant stewardship of Sandy Taylor. For Teeth, Girmay received the GLCA New Writers Award, and the book was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award. Kingdom Animalia was the winner of the Isabella Gardner Award (BOA Editions) and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Most recently, Girmay’s poetry and essays have been published in Granta, Black Renaissance Noire, and PEN America, among other places. She has received grants and fellowships from the Jerome, Cave Canem, and Watson Foundations as well as Civitella Ranieri and the NEA. Nominated by Mahtem Shiferraw / Representative text: The Black Maria


Mohsin Hamid is the author of four novels, Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West, and a book of essays, Discontent and Its Civilizations. His writing has been featured on best-seller lists, adapted for the cinema, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, selected as winner or finalist of twenty awards, and translated into thirty-five languages. Born in Lahore, he has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California. Nominated by Adnan Mahmutović / Representative text: The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Jamaica Kincaid

Caribbean American writer Jamaica Kincaid (b. 1949) writes loosely autobiographical works including essays, stories, and novels that are evocative portrayals of family relationships and her native Antigua. She lives in North Bennington, Vermont, during the summers and teaches at Harvard as professor of African and African American studies in residence during the academic year. Her awards include the 2017 Dan David Prize in Literature, the 2014 Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award for See Now Then, the 2010 Center for Fiction’s Clifton Fadiman Medal for Annie John, among many others. Her books The Autobiography of My Mother and At the Bottom of the River were also shortlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Nominated by Ladan Osman / Representative text: Mr. Potter


Yusef Komunyakaa. Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947, Bogalusa, Louisiana) is an award-winning American poet and professor known for his autobiographical poems about race, the Vietnam War, and jazz and blues. In 1994 Komunyakaa received the Pulitzer Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes for Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, a collection that prompted many to deem him the progenitor of a wholly new poetic vernacular. Komunyakaa’s early work includes the poetry collections Dedications & Other Darkhorses (1977) and Lost in the Bonewheel Factory (1979). Widespread recognition came with the publication of Copacetic (1984), which showcased what would become his distinctive style: vernacular speech layered with syncopated rhythms from jazz traditions. His next book, I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head (1986), won the San Francisco Poetry Center Award; Dien Cai Dau (1988), a book that treated his experience in the Vietnam War in stark and personal terms, won the Dark Room Poetry Prize. Nominated by Major Jackson / Representative text: Pleasure Dome



Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith (b. 1955) is a poet, teacher, performance artist, and author. She is the author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House Press, 2012), winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, given for the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States each year, as well as Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008), which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award; Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press, 2006), a 2005 National Poetry Series selection; Close to Death (Zoland Books, 1993); Big Towns, Big Talk (Zoland Books, 1992), which won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award; and Life According to Motown (Tía Chucha Press, 1991). She is a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, and her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, and Best American Mystery Stories. She has written and performed two one-woman plays, one of which was produced by Derek Walcott’s Trinidad Theater Workshop. She is a Cave Canem faculty member, teaches in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, and is a professor of creative writing at the City University of New York / College of Staten Island. She lives in Howell, New Jersey. Nominated by Sasha Pimentel / Representative text: Incendiary Art


Ludmila Ulitskaya. Photo: Wikipedia/Dmitry Rozhkov

Ludmila Ulitskaya is an internationally acclaimed modern Russian novelist and short-story writer who, in 2014, was awarded the prestigious Austrian State Prize for European Literature for her oeuvre. A former scientist and the director of Moscow’s Hebrew Repertory Theater, she is the author of many novels and novellas including Medea and Her Children; Kukotsky Case; Sincerely Yours; Shurik; Daniel Stein, Interpreter; The Big Green Tent; and Yakov’s Ladder. She has also written several collections of short stories, tales for children, and six plays staged by theaters in Russia and Europe. She has won the Russian Booker Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. A strong advocate for freedom of expression, she recently published a volume of her correspondence with the imprisoned Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Nominated by Alisa Ganieva / Representative text: The Big Green Tent