Household, pseudonymous and new names are included on the longlist of 13 books in line for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize, released March 10.
Contenders include Turkey’s household name Orhan Pamuk; the ever-mysterious Italian, Elena Ferrante — who writes under a pseudonym; South Korea’s Han Kang; Indonesia’s Eka Kurniawan; and Finland’s Aki Ollikainen. The 13 were winnowed from an initial stack of 155.
“Our selection highlights the sheer diversity of great fiction today,” said judging panel chair Boyd Tonkin, of the Independent newspaper, in a press release.
“From intense episodes of passion to miniature historical epics; from eerie fables of family strife to character-driven chronicles of urban life, this list showcases fiction that crosses every border. It also pays tribute to the skill and dedication of the first-rate translators who convey it to English-language readers,” said Tonkin’s statement.
The other judges on the panel are novelist Tahmima Anam; Princeton University academic David Bellos; editor and academic Daniel Medin; and British poet and author Ruth Padel.
The international Man Booker, sponsored by the British investment house Man Group, joined this year with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
The short list of six will be released April 14, with each author and translator receiving UK £1,000. The final winner will be announced on May 16. The grand prize of UK £50,000 will be split equally between each book’s author and translater.
The real prize, however, is the priceless name recognition from having won a Man Booker.
Here is the longlist of books in contention, with the author and nationality first, followed by the translator, title, and imprint:
Further reading from F&O’s archives:
The Man Booker is stacked in favour of big publishers, By Stevie Marsden, July, 2015
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction has announced its longlist for the 2015 award. Now in its 46th year, the award is among the most prestigious in the literary world. It is also incredibly generous to the big publishing houses. Five of the six books shortlisted last year came from Penguin Random House, following a longlist where nine out of the 13 books came from the big publishers. This year it is eight out of 13. But whether or not you think this sounds too much, the real problem lies in submission rules that risk locking in this dominance and making it progressively worse in years to come.
Richard Flanagan is the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize with his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Giving his acceptance speech he said, “In Australia the Man Booker is seen as something of a chicken raffle. I just did not expect to end up the chicken.”
This year’s run-up to the naming of the Man Booker Prize winner has just begun, with the announcement of the 13 novels that make up the longlist. They will soon be dissected and analysed by readers and critics all over the world. For the first time, the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, as long as their work was originally in English and was published in the United Kingdom.
Elsewhere on the web:
Successfully absent: Elena Ferrante’s Italian books, by Giorgia Alu, The Conversation
Italian novelist Elena Ferrante is a cult author. She is defined as “one of the great novelists of our time” in The New York Times Book Review, “the best contemporary novelist you have never heard of” in The Economist, and “one of Italy’s finest novelists” in the Times Literary Supplement, and so on and so forth. She is also known for fiercely protecting her true identity.
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