Elena Ferrante, Orhan Pamuk up for Man Booker International Prize

LONDON – Elusive Italian author Elena Ferrante and Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk are among six finalists for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction.

Ferrante’s Neapolitan tale “The Story of the Lost Child” and Pamuk’s Istanbul-set “A Strangeness in My Mind” are on a shortlist, announced Thursday, that includes books from Asia, Africa and Europe.

Pamuk is one of Turkey’s best-known authors and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006. Ferrante has topped best-seller lists around the world with her four novels of friendship and life in Naples, but her identity remains a mystery. She writes under a pseudonym and rarely gives interviews.

Also among the finalists is Yan Lianke’s “The Four Books,” one of the few Chinese novels to tackle the Great Famine of the 1950s and ’60s, in which millions died. The author’s satirical novels have frequently been banned in China.

The other nominees are Angolan revolution saga “A General Theory of Oblivion” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa; food-themed novel “The Vegetarian” by South Korea’s Han Kang; and Alpine tale “A Whole Life” by Austria’s Robert Seethaler.

Literary critic Boyd Tonkin, who chairs the judging panel, said the six finalists “will take readers both around the globe and to every frontier of fiction.”

The award is the international counterpart to Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize and is open to books published in any language that have been translated into English. The prize was previously a career honor, but changed this year to recognize a single work of fiction.

The 50,000-pound ($71,000) prize is divided evenly between the author and the book’s translator. The winner will be announced in London on May 16.