The longlist for the newly reconfigured Man Booker International Prize has been announced today. The thirteen books are:
- A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), translated by Daniel Hahn and published by Harvill Secker.
- The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Italy), translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang (South Korea), translated by Deborah Smith and published by Portobello Books
- Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (France), translated by Jessica Moore and published by Maclehose Press
- Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia), translated by Labodalih Sembiring and published by Verso Books
- The Four Books by Yan Lianke (China), translated by Carlos Rojas and published by Chatto & Windus
- Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo/Austria), translated by Roland Glasser and published by Jacaranda
- A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar (Brazil), translated by Stefan Tobler and published by Penguin Modern Classics
- Ladivine by Marie NDiaye (France), translated by Jordan Stump and published Maclehose Press
- Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan), translated by Deborah Boliner Boem (Atlantic Books)
- White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen (Finland), translated by Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah and published by Peirene Press
- A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), translated by Ekin Oklap and published by Faber & Faber
- A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Austria), translated by Charlotte Collins and published by Picador
Having read and enjoyed ‘The Mussel Feast‘ by Birgit Vanderbeke and ‘The Dead Lake‘ by Hamid Ismailov, I have been seeking out more titles published by Peirene Press, a small independent publishing house who specialise in contemporary European novellas translated into English, which the Times Literary Supplement describes as “literary cinema for those fatigued by film”. So far, I’ve found six more in charity shops and Hay-on-Wye bookshops:
As August is Women in Translation Month hosted by Biblibio, I’ve been reading ‘Mr Darwin’s Gardener’ by Kristina Carlson translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah (Title No. 11 from the Turning Point: Revolutionary Moments series) and ‘The Blue Room’ by Hanne Ørstavik translated from the Norwegian by Deborah Dawkin (Title No. 14 from the Coming-of-Age: Towards Identity series). It’s a happy coincidence that the books I have chosen have both been written and translated by women. Continue reading
It was announced earlier this week that the Man Booker International Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize will be merging next year to create a new literary prize for translated fiction.
Novels and short story collections translated into English and published in the UK will be eligible for the annual Man Booker International Prize with a longlist of twelve or thirteen novels announced in March, a shortlist in April and the winner in May. Like the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the award will be shared equally between the author and translator. Continue reading
On Tuesday evening at the Hay Festival, I went to see Alexander McCall Smith in conversation with S. J. Parris at the Tata tent.
McCall Smith recently won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction for his novel ‘Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party’. As well as being a literary prize for one of the more neglected genres of fiction, it is notable for its unusual reward. Rather than money, the winner receives a jeroboam of champagne, the 52 novels by P. G. Wodehouse and a Gloucester Old Spot pig named after the winning novel. The event began with McCall Smith being presented with the champagne and 1 of the 52 Wodehouse novels having met the pig earlier in the day (you can watch the meeting here).
Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, ‘The End of Days’ by Jenny Erpenbeck and translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky tells the story of the various possible lives of one woman during the twentieth century. The book is split into five stories. In the first part, we learn that a baby has suffocated in a cot in a small Galician town. In the second part, we learn what might have happened had the baby lived as a teenager in Vienna shortly after the First World War. The third part sees her as a communist in Moscow, the fourth part follows her as a celebrated writer in Berlin and finally, as an elderly lady aged in her nineties living in a care home.
‘Zone’ by Mathias Énard and translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell tells the story of Francis Mirkovic, a Franco-Croat intelligence officer who is travelling by train from Milan to Rome after missing his plane. He will be delivering a briefcase containing a dossier about war crimes across various parts of the “zone” where he worked – the region around the Mediterranean Sea spanning across Spain, Lebanon, Cairo and Croatia – which he plans to sell to the highest bidder thus ending his career as an agent. During the journey, Francis reflects on his twenty-year career, his future, his family, his relationships with Marianne, Stéphanie and Sashka, his fellow passengers on the train and much more. Continue reading
The official shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced this week:
We can also reveal our shadow jury shortlist: