The International Booker Prize is considered as one of the most prestigious literary awards; and while there is still time for the long list to be announced for next year, the process has been initiated by sharing the list of judges.
For 2020, the judges include Lucie Campos, comparative literature and translation specialist; Jennifer Croft, translator and Booker Prize-winning translator for Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights; Jeet Thayil, author and poet; and Valeria Luiselli, award-winning Mexican author.
It will be chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre.
Speaking on chairing the panel Hodgkinson said,“It’s a great honour to chair the International Booker, a prize that recognises literature as an art rooted in dialogue, enabled by ingenuity and precision, but also by the courage of authors and translators alike to carry stories across languages and cultures. Through these miraculous and at times conspiratorial affinities we enter lives beyond our own and renew our shared sense of humanity. It’s a particular thrill to be in such stellar company, with polyglot authors, celebrated translators and champions of translated fiction joining me on what promises to be a remarkable reading odyssey.”
This year Omani author, Jokha Alharthi’s novel Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth won the prize. The winning sum was equally divided between the translator and the author.
“Through the different tentacles of people’s lives and loves and losses we come to learn about this society – all its degrees, from the very poorest of the slave families working there to those making money through the advent of a new wealth in Oman and Muscat. It starts in a room and ends in a world,” Bettany Hughes, historian and chair of judges for the prize, was quoted as saying, according to a report in The Guardian.