A total of 13 books translated from eight different languages have been selected for this year’s International Booker Prize longlist.
Aimed to encourage more publishing and reading of foreign novels, the ‘International Booker Dozen’ is the foreign-speaking alternative to the Booker Prize, where books that have been translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland are recognised.
The winning author and translator will split the £50,000 prize between them, and each of the shortlisted books (which will be announced on April 12) will receive £1,000 for both the author and translator.
Included in this year’s longlist is Samanta Schweblin from Argentina, author of Little Eyes who has previously been longlisted for Mouthful of Birds and shortlisted for Fever Dream in the International Booker Prize.
Also included in the longlist is Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, described as ‘France’s most important writer’ by the Standard’s literary editor, David Sexton.
A panel of five judges selected the works in this year’s longlist, chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre. It also includes Lucie Campos, director of the Villa Gillet, France’s centre for international writing; 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.
Hodgkinson says: “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 reimagining 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.”
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharth i, translated by Marilyn Booth won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize – the last that the Man Group sponsored, it is now sponsored by Crankstart, the charitable foundation of Sir Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman and known simply as ‘The Booker Prize’.
This year’s winner will be announced in a ceremony in London on May 19.
Click through the gallery above to see the longlisted novels and head here for our latest book content.