[The JRB Daily] 2019 Man Booker International Prize longlist announced—women and independent publishers dominate

The longlist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize has been announced.

Thirteen novels are in contention for the prize, which celebrates the ‘finest works of translated fiction from around the world’.

Over half of this year’s nominees are women—eight authors—and the longlist is dominated by independent publishers, with just two books having been published by the larger conglomerates.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every year for a single book, which is translated into English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Both novels and short story collections are eligible.

Authors are honoured along with their translators, and share £50,000 prize money between them. Each shortlisted author and translator also receives £1,000.

108 books were considered for the prize this year, and the thirteen longlisted books have been translated from nine different languages, from twelve countries, across three continents.

Olga Tokarczuk, who won the prize in 2018 for Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft, has been longlisted again, this time for her novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, alongside her other translator into English, Antonia Lloyd-Jones.

Samanta Schweblin and her translator Megan McDowell, who were previously shortlisted in 2017, have been longlisted again.


2019 Man Booker International Prize longlist

  • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Oman), translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press)
  • Love in the New Millennium by Can Xue (China), translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen (Yale University Press)
  • The Years by Annie Ernaux (France), translated by Alison Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (South Korea), translated by Sora Kim-Russell (Scribe)
  • Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf (Iceland and Palestine), translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Granta)
  • Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (France), translated from French by Sam Taylor (Granta)
  • The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (Germany), translated by Jen Calleja (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina and Italy), translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (Oneworld)
  • The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (Sweden), translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (Quercus)
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  • The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia), translated from Spanish by Anne McLean (MacLehose Press)
  • The Death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (Netherlands), translated by Sam Garrett (Scribe)
  • The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile and Italy), translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes (And Other Stories)

The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, including historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes (chair); writer, translator and chair of English PEN Maureen Freely; philosopher Professor Angie Hobbs; novelist and satirist Elnathan John and essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra.

‘This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political,’ Hughes says. ‘That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh.

‘We’re thrilled to share thirteen books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.’

The shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 April 2019, and the winner on 21 May at a dinner at the Roundhouse in London.

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