2020 International Booker Prize Longlist Announced

2020 International Booker Prize Longlist Announced

Thursday, February 27, 2020 3:25 pm


Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld . Photo credit, The Guardian UK

By Nehru Odeh

The Booker Prize Foundation has announced the longlist of this year’s International Booker Prize, formerly known as the Man Booker Prize. The prize is worth £50,000, or almost €60,000.  In a statement released today, it was revealed that the judges considered 124 books, which they later whittled down to their ‘International Booker Dozen’.

The 13-strong longlist is dominated by Europeans and includes three Latin American authors, two from Asia and one from Africa.

The shortlist will be announced on April 2nd and the winner on May 19th. Last year’s winner was Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth. The Booker Prizes are sponsored by Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Sir Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman.

The 2020 International Booker Prize longlist:

 1.   Red Dog by Willem Anker, translated by Michiel Heyns. Pushkin Press.

2.    The Enlightenment of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated anonymously. Europa Editions.

3.    The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh. Charco Press.

4.    The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls. Fitzcarraldo Editions.

5.   The Eighth Life by Nino Haratiscvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin. Scribe UK.

6.    Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Shaun Whiteside. William Heinemann.

7.   Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Ross Benjamin. Quercus.

8.    Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes. Fitzcarraldo Editions.

9.    The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder. Harvill Secker.

10    Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano, translated by Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins. Peirene Press.

11.   Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell. Oneworld.

12.    The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchinson. Faber & Faber.

 13.   Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes. Harvill Secker.

The  selected works, which originate in Europe , South America, Africa , the Middle East and South East Asia, were translated from eight languages  and  explore diverse topics, including grief, dystopias, rural life, and the histories of their countries. Samanta Schweblin, author of longlisted Little Eyes, had previously been longlisted for Mouthful of Birds and shortlisted for Fever Dream. Previously shortlisted translator Sophie Hughes appears on the list twice, as well as the translator of Hurricane Season and co-translator of Mac and His Problem.

The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre. The panel also includes: Lucie Campos, director of the Villa Gillet, France’s centre for international writing; Man Booker International Prize-winning translator and writer Jennifer Croft; LA Times Book Prize for Fiction-winning author Valeria Luiselli and writer, poet and musician Jeet Thayil, whose novel Narcopolis was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2012.

Every year, a single book that has been translated into English and published in the UK, is awarded the prize, which is aimed at encouraging publishing as well as reading of quality fiction from across the globe and to promote  translators’ works. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible to be considered for the award.

The contribution of both author and translator is given equal recognition, with the £50,000 prize split between them. Each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000, bringing the total value of the prize to £62,000.

 “‘What a thrill to share a longlist of such breadth and brilliance, reflecting a cumulative artistry rooted in dialogue between authors and translators, and possessing a power to enlarge the scope of lives encountered on the page, from the epic to the everyday. Whether re-imagining foundational myths, envisioning dystopias of disquieting potency, or simply setting the world ablaze with the precision of their perceptions, these are books that left indelible impressions on us as judges. In times that increasingly ask us to take sides, these works of art transcend moral certainties and narrowing identities, restoring a sense of the wonderment at the expansive and ambiguous lot of humanity,” said  Ted Hodgkinson, chair of judges.

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