Man Booker International 2019 shortlist announced

News - Prizes Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Olga Tokarczuk in the running for a double


Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2018, is in the running again for the 2019 prize, this time with translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Tokarczuk's 2018 winner was Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft.

The shortlist for the prize, which offers £50,000 to be shared between author and translator, was announced yesterday evening at an event at Somerset House.

Celestial Bodies, Jokha Alharthi, trans Marilyn Booth (Arabic - Oman; Sandstone Press)
The Years, Annie Ernaux, trans Alison L Strayer (French - France; Fitzcarraldo)
The Pine Islands, Marion Poschmann, trans Jen Calleja (German - Germany; Serpent's Tail)
Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk, trans Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Polish - Poland; Fitzcarraldo)
The Shape of the Ruins, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, trans Anne McLean (Spanish - Colombia; MacLehose Press)
The Remainder, Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans Sophie Hughes (Spanish - Chile and Italy; And Other Stories)

The judges, chaired by Bettany Hughes, are Maureen Freely, Professor Angie Hobbs, Elnathan John, and Pankaj Mishra. They will announce their winner at a dinner at the Roundhouse in London on 21 May.

Hughes said: "Wisdom in all its forms is here. Unexpected and unpredictable narratives compelled us to choose this vigorous shortlist. Subversive and intellectually ambitious with welcome flashes of wit, each book nourishes creative conversation. We were struck by the lucidity and supple strength of all the translations.

"This prize does the most extraordinary job in reminding us of the subtleties and suppleness of what internationalism can and should be. I think I speak for all the judges…when I say it has been such a privilege to be exposed to these stories of the world…from Bedouin dreams to Mexican dystopias and everything beyond and in between." The 2019 judging panel read 108 books translated from 25 languages.

The shortlisted authors and translators will take part in events at Foyles Charing Cross Road on 16 May and at the Southbank Centre on 20 May. Events celebrating the winner will take place at Waterstones Piccadilly on 23 May and at Hay Festival on 25 May.

From next year, the prize will be known as the Booker International Prize, following the withdrawal of the Man Group's sponsorship and its replacement by Crankstart.

BookBrunch spoke to Joely Day of Fitzcarraldo Editions, winner of the 2018 Man Book International Prize and now with two titles on the 2019 shortlist. Winning last year had, said Day, made "a huge, huge difference. These prizes make such a massive difference to small independents, we’re publishing more books than we ever have before, it has enabled us to go that bit further. We’re very excited and surprised and thankful to be shortlisted again this year."

But the biggest thank you of the evening went to the Man Group which has, for the past two decades, given more than £20 million to the Booker prizes.

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