International Notes: Frankfurt’s Best Adaptation and the Arabic Fiction Award

In News by Porter Anderson

Tom Ford’s adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel ‘Tony & Susan’ wins Frankfurt’s adaptation prize for ‘Nocturnal Animals,’ and the Arabic Fiction Award changes its submission policy for publishers.

Image: Focus Features

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Book and Film Cannot Be Separated’

Tom Ford. Image: Nicolas Genin, CC BY-SA 2.0

On Thursday (December 15), Frankfurt Book Fair awarded its award for the Best International Literary Adaptation 2016 to Universal Pictures. The prized was conferred for Nocturnal Animals, the thriller directed by Tom Ford, fashion designer and screenwriter, who also directed the 2009 film adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man.

The Nocturnal Animals screenplay was written by Ford, and is based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony & Susan (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing, 2011). The book was published in Germany by Random House’s btb.

Accepting the Frankfurt award were Universal’s managing director Paul Steinschulte and distribution director Uwe Lucas. Frankfurt’s vice-president for marketing and communications Katja Böhne presented the honor to them.

In presenting the award, Böhne said, “Book and film cannot be separated.

“Many great films were based on great novels and short stories, which is why we have been actively supporting the network between the publishing and film industries for several years.”

Speaking for Universal, Steinschulte is quoted, saying, “We are very happy and proud to receive this award from the internationally acclaimed Frankfurter Buchmesse, particularly since Universal Pictures International Germany is also based in Frankfurt.

“We also express our gratitude on behalf of Tom Ford, the producers and Focus Features for this special award.”

Information released by Frankfurt to the media tells us “Frankfurt Buchmesse initiated the annual award for the Best International Literary Adaptation in 2004. Previous award winners include Todd Haynes (2015); Anton Corbijn (2014); Ziad Doueiri and Joelle Touma (2013); Stephen Daldry (2012); and producer David Heyman (2011).”

On this year’s process, press materials report that for the 2016 award, Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, convened a panel of film experts including:

  • Leo Barraclough, correspondent for Variety;
  • Rajendra Roy, Celeste Bartos chief curator of film at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA);
  • Beat Glur, press spokesman for the Zurich Film Festival; and
  • Ulrich Höcherl, executive editor-in-chief of the trade publication Blickpunkt:Film, and deputy managing director of Busch Entertainment Media.

Nocturnal Animals has been nominated for three Golden Globe awards; a Screen Actors Guild award; three Broadcast Film Critics Association awards; a Chicago Film Critics Association award; and more.

The film is to have its German premiere Thursday (December 22).

International Prize for Arabic Fiction Submissions Update

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) will reflect success in longlists for the prize in previous seasons. In a news release, we read:

“From the 2018 Prize year onwards, IPAF is introducing a new quota system. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years” in this pattern:

  • 1 submission – publishers with no listing
  • 2 submissions – publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s)
  • 3 submissions – publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings
  • 4 submissions – publishers with 5 or more longlistings

This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change annually.

In explaining the adjustment, the prize’s organizers say, “The new system is a means of maintaining fairness, and of ensuring continued eligibility for every publisher to submit novels for consideration. The new system also enables the Prize to better fulfil its aim to reward excellence in contemporary Arabic creative writing. The rule which allows additional submission of any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction remains. The judges may also still call in any book which has not been submitted but which they believe worthy of consideration.”

In a prepared statement, the award’s trustees chair Yasir Suleiman is quoted, saying, “Fairness and excellence are at the heart of this change in IPAF rules. The new rules will allow for breadth with depth in submissions, and they will do so in a manner that builds on the outstanding success of the Prize in promoting Arabic fiction in the original and in translation.”

For more details on rules of entry for the IPAF, see this page, which includes a link to the submission form.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.