Israeli author David Grossman won the Man Booker International Prize, sharing the £50,000 (RM272,000) award with translator Jessica Cohen.

Grossman, the first Israeli writer to win the prize, is now expected to enjoy a spike in international sales for A Horse Walks Into A Bar.

The book unfolds over the course of a stand-up show during which comedian Dovelah Gee exposes a wound he has been living with for years and the difficult choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.

“Thank you all. I will cherish this award and this evening,” Grossman said after receiving the prize at a ceremony in central London.

“I thank first of all my wonderful, devoted translator, Jessica Cohen,” the 63-year-old author added.

One of the judges, Nick Barley, said Grossman “attempted an ambitious high-wire act of a novel, and … pulled it off spectacularly.

“We were bowled over by Grossman’s willingness to take emotional as well as stylistic risks – every sentence counts, every word matters in this supreme example of the writer’s craft,” Barley added.

David grossman

A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen.

Since he started writing in the late 1970s after being fired from public radio following anger over his critical coverage of the authorities, Grossman has won numerous Israeli and international awards.

His 1986 novel See Under: Love is seen by a number of critics as his masterpiece, delving into the Holocaust during World War II and the generation of Jews that followed.

Other works include The Yellow Wind, a prescient nonfiction look at Israel’s occupation ahead of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) that erupted in 1987.

His 2008 novel To The End Of The Land, published after the death of his son Uri, contemplates the effects of war while portraying Israeli life.

Grossman’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and he also received France’s award to recognise contributions to the arts, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in 1998.

In 2011 he was part of a group of seven prominent writers from around the world to appeal to the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian Government over its actions in the civil war which began that year.

The international edition of Britain’s Man Booker Prize was introduced in 2005 and up to last year was awarded in recognition of a body of work by a living author whose books are written or available in English.

From last year the prize has been given for a single work of fiction that has been translated into English and published in Britain.

The prize was won last year by South Korean author Han Kang for The Vegetarian, which got onto bestseller lists around the world after the win. – AFP Relaxnews