The International Booker Prize has announced its 2020 Longlist.
This year’s longlisted works originate in Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Spanish is the most represented original language, with four titles longlisted.
The selected books were written in eight languages, hail from 11 countries and have 11 different publishers. There are six male writers represented on the Longlist and seven women and no fewer than 17 translators.
With this year’s Longlist, readers are in for reading diversity as the featured books are a great blend of linguistic and geographic diversity. The narratives are set in the 18th-century South African veldt, the edge of the Russian empire, the Argentinian pampas, and post-revolutionary Iran. The wide expanse of the settings also moves from a sweltering Barcelona to the Norwegian coast, and rural Mexico, France and the Netherlands.
The International Booker Prize is different from the Booker Prize for Fiction. The Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world, and has been awarding outstanding fiction for over five decades. The prize is awarded each year to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK and Ireland. The International Booker Prize, however, is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. It is a younger award established in 2005 to honour an author and translator equally for a work of fiction translated into English.
The symmetrical relationship between The Booker Prize for Fiction and The International Booker Prize ensures that The Booker Prizes honour fiction and writing on a global basis.
With both novels and short-story collections eligible, International Booker Prize aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction from all over the world and to promote the work of translators. The contribution of both author and translator is given equal recognition, with the £50,000 prize split between them. Each of the shortlisted books will receive £1,000 for both the author and translator.
This year the judges considered 124 books, and came up with the Longlist of 13 books.
This is the first year that the prize is known as the International Booker Prize, after the Man Group’s sponsorship came to an end. The prize is now sponsored by Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Sir Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman.
The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Ted Hodgkinson. The panel also includes Lucie Campos, Jennifer Croft, Valeria Luiselli, and Jeet Thayil.
Speaking of the Longlist, Ted Hodgkinson said— “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. 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.”
— The Booker Prizes (@TheBookerPrizes) February 27, 2020
The previous winners include Korean bestseller Han Kang and Polish Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk.
The 2019 Man Booker International prize was won by Jokha Alharthi, the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English, for her novel Celestial Bodies. She shared the prize with her translator Marilyn Booth.
This year’s shortlist will be announced on 2 April, at an event at Ennismore Sessions House in London; and the winner on 19 May.
This is the Longlist of the 2020 International Booker Prize:
Red Dog by Willem Anker, translated by Michiel Heyns from Afrikaans (Pushkin Press)
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated by Anonymous from Farsi (Europa Editions)
The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh from Spanish (Charco Press)
The Other Name: Septology I-II by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls from Norwegian (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin from German (Scribe UK)
Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Shaun Whiteside from French (William Heinemann)
Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Ross Benjamin from German (Quercus)
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes from Spanish (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogowa, translated by Stephen Snyder from Japanese (Harvill Secker)
Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano, translated by Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins from French (Peirene Press)
Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell from Spanish (Oneworld)
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison from Dutch (Faber & Faber)
Mac and His Problem by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and Sophie Hughes from Spanish (Harvill Secker)