The much anticipated shortlist of the 2020 International Booker Prize has been announced. Announced digitally by the judges with the aid of a video, the list consists of six books: The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Farsi-Iran), translated by Anonymous, published by Europa Editions; The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Spanish-Argentina), translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh, published by Charco Press; Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann (Germany-German), translated by Ross Benjamin, published by Quercus; Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (Spanish-Mexico), translated by Sophie Hughes, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions; The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa (Japanese-Japan), translated by Stephen Snyder, published by Harvill Secker; and The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Dutch-Netherlands), translated by Michele Hutchison, published by Faber & Faber.
The panel of judges was chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre. Others include author and poet Valeria Luiselli, author Jeet Thayil, translator (recipient of Man Booker International Prize) and writer Jennifer Croft, and Lucie Campos, who is the director of France’s centre for international writing, Villa Gillet.
The underlying themes running across the books are grief and tracing identity through history.
We are delighted to announce the #InternationalBooker2020 shortlist. Find out more: https://t.co/rtU8LBzYJf #TranslatedFiction #FinestFiction #WorldofWords @TeditorTed @ValeriaLuiselli @luciecampos @JeetThayil @jenniferlcroft pic.twitter.com/TCC5uCfu7Y
— The Booker Prizes (@TheBookerPrizes) April 2, 2020
Speaking on the selection, Hodgkinson commented, “Each of our shortlisted books restlessly reinvents received narratives, from foundational myths to family folklore, plunging us into discomforting and elating encounters with selves in a state of transition. Whether capturing a deftly imagined dystopia or incandescent flows of language, these are tremendous feats of translation, which in these isolating times, represent the pinnacle of an art form rooted in dialogue. Our shortlist transcends this unprecedented moment, immersing us in expansively imagined lives that hold enduring fascination.”
Every year, the International Booker Prize is awarded to a book published in UK or Ireland and has been translated in English. This year the books have been translated from Spanish, German, Dutch, Farsi and Japanese. An award money of £50,000 is divided between the author and translator.
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