The contemporary short story writer was selected for the Man Booker International Prize out of ten contestants including the 80-year old Indian literary veteran U R Ananthamurthy, a Jnanpith awardee and important representative of the new movement in Kannada literature.
Davis was awarded the Man Booker International Prize at a ceremony held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The £60,000 worth prize is awarded every two years to writers for their overall contribution to fiction. Their works should be available in English, either originally published or available as translation.
Davis, a 65-year old professor of Creative Writing at the University of Albany, is also a renowned translator of French literature and philosophy. She is especially noted for her works of Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert. Davis has said on numerous occasions that the main inspiration behind her succinct writing style was Proust's famously long sentences. The French government had honoured the writer with the title Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her works in translation.
She has just a single novel to her credit - "The End of the Story", published in 1995. A few of Davis' short stories are just as long as a paragraph or a single sentence where as the longest of her stories run to as many as nine pages. "I was recently denied a writing prize because they said I was lazy," said one of her two-sentence short stories.
Sir Christopher Ricks, chairman of the judges, said it was hard to categorise her work for they embraced so many literary structures."They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes,parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even aphorisms, prayers or simply observations," he said.