One of America’s most celebrated writers Philip Roth has been honoured for a lifetime of great work by winning the Man Booker International Prize.

The onetime Pulitzer prize winner beat stiff competition in a shortlist that included British author Philip Pullman, Chinese writer Su Tong, American authors Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson, Australian writer David Malouf and John le Carré to take the prize at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Rick Gekoski, chairman of the judging panel (pictured), said: “For more than 50 years Philip Roth’s books have stimulated, provoked, and amused an enormous, and still expanding audience. His imagination has not only recast our idea of Jewish identity, it has also reanimated fiction, and not just American fiction, generally.”

Roth is renowned for his 1969 novel Portnoy’s Complaint, and for his more recent trilogy comprising American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain.

The £60,000 biannual Man Booker International is awarded for a writer’s “achievement in fiction”, and looks at a body of work rather than a single novel like its companion prize, the Man Booker.

In the past it has been won by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare and Canadian short story writer Alice Munro.

British author John le Carré refused the nomination saying he did not compete for literary prizes, but the judges kept him in the competition anyway.