Tag Archives: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Is the new Man Booker International Prize good news for translated fiction?

Man Booker International Prize 2016It 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

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Hay Festival: Alexander McCall Smith and Jenny Erpenbeck

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).

Hay Festival IFFP

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The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck

The End of DaysShortlisted 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.

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Zone by Mathias Énard

Zone‘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

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The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist 2015

Independent Foreign Fiction PrizeThe official shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was announced this week:

We can also reveal our shadow jury shortlist:

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Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood IslandTranslated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett, ‘Boyhood Island’ is the third instalment of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ambitious six-book cycle of autobiographical novels known as ‘My Struggle’. Having explored some of Knausgaard’s later childhood in ‘A Death in the Family‘, the second volume ‘A Man in Love‘ jumped forward in time to concentrate on his experiences of fatherhood. As you may guess from the title, ‘Boyhood Island’ jumps back in time again to Knausgaard’s childhood. Continue reading

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By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

By Night the Mountain Burns‘By Night the Mountain Burns’ by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel is the first novel by an author from Equatorial Guinea to be longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It is also only the second book from the country ever to be translated into English and recounts the narrator’s childhood memories of living on the small remote island of Annobón in the South Atlantic Ocean where the inhabitants deal with various crises including a bush fire and a cholera epidemic. Continue reading

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