The International Booker Prize for the year 2020 has been announced. The coveted award was won by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld for The Discomfort of Evening. It has been translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison. The book centres around a 10-year-old girl Jas who is infuriated with her brother Matthies for not being permitted to go for ice-skating with him. This occurs at the onset of the novel. Her wish turns true and he dies. The debut novel then is a fascinating case study of grief .
Congratulations to the #InternationalBooker2020 winner The Discomfort of Evening, by author @mariek1991 and translated from Dutch by @m_hutchison. https://t.co/hSx0SCcxN6@faberbooks #TranslatedFiction #TheDiscomfortofEvening #MariekeLucasRijneveld #MicheleHutchison pic.twitter.com/BYt9OYwMfi
— The Booker Prizes (@TheBookerPrizes) August 26, 2020
The shortlist consisted 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 included author Jeet Thayil, author and poet Valeria Luiselli, translator (recipient of Man Booker International Prize) and writer Jennifer Croft, and Lucie Campos, director of France’s centre for international writing, Villa Gillet.
The coveted honour is given annually to a book translated to English and published in the UK or Ireland. The award money is divided between the author and the translator. In 2019, this was awarded to Jokha Alharthi for Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth. The year before that, it was presented to Olga Tokarczuk for Flight translated by Jennifer Croft.