The judges of the International Booker Prize 2020 have today announced the longlist for this year’s prize. A total of 13 books have been chosen from a set of 124 by a panel of five judges. They are calling it the ‘International Booker Dozen’, wonder why!
For the uninitiated, the International Booker Prize is awarded annually to a book of fiction that is translated in English and published in the UK or Ireland. Both novels and short-story collections are considered, and the £50,000 prize is equally distributed between the original author and the translator. Note that this is different from the Booker Prize, which only considers works originally written in English.
International Booker Prize 2020 longlist
The selected books, in no particular order, are:
Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano
“Faces on the Tip of My Tongue” is a collection of short stories about meetings, partings, loves and losses in rural France. It was first published in 2019 in French. Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins are the translators.
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
“Hurricane Season” takes place in a world filled with mythology and violence. It was first published in 2017 in Spanish. Sophie Hughes is the translator.
Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin
“Little Eyes” is a dystopian science fiction novel about the collision of technology and play, horror and humanity. It was first published in 2018 in Spanish. Megan McDowell is the translator.
Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas
“Mac and His Problem” is a story of an unemployed 60-year-old aspiring writer who is writing a diary, diligently recording his daily walks through the neighbourhood. It was first published in 2017 in Spanish. Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes are the translators.
Red Dog by Willem Anker
“Red Dog” is a historical fiction novel based during the end of eighteenth century Africa. It was first published in 2014 in Afrikaans and is his first novel to be translated in English. Michiel Heyns is the translator.
Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq
“Serotonin” is a hilariously offensive novel about the current state of Europe, Western civilization, and mankind in general. It was first published in 2019 in French. Shaun Whiteside is the translator.
The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
“The Adventures of China Iron” is set in Argentina. It is a humorous novel high on criticism. The narrative moves through the Argentinian landscape. It was first published in 2017 in Spanish. Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh are the translators.
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
“The Discomfort of Evening” is the debut novel of the poetess and is already a bestseller in Netherlands. It was first published in 2018 in Dutch. Michele Hutchison is the translator.
The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili
“The Eighth Life” is a story of seven women who lived under the heat and light of empire, revolution, war, repression, and liberation. It was first published in 2014 in German. Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin are the translators.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
“The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree” is set in Iran. With the help of magical realism, the story follows a thirteen-year-old in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It was first published in 2017 in Farsi and was shortlisted for The Stella Prize 2018. Adrien Kijek is the translator.
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
“The Memory Police” is a haunting novel depicting the terrors of state surveillance. It is a fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss. It was first published in 1994 in Japanese and was a finalist of the National Book Award for Translated Literature 2019. Stephen Snyder is the translator.
The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse
“The Other Name: Septology I – II” follows the lives of two men living close to each other on the west coast of Norway. It was first published in 2019 in Norwegian. Damion Searls is the translator.
Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
“Tyll” is a retelling of the German myth of Tyll Ulenspiegel and is set in seventeenth century Germany. It was first published in 2017 in German. Ross Benjamin is the translator.
What about the International Booker Prize 2020 shortlist?
The shortlist will be announced on April 2. A total of 6 books are expected to be shortlisted from the above longlist. Any guesses which of the above will make the shortlist?
And the winner of the International Booker Prize 2020?
The winner shall be declared sometime in May 2020.