Man Booker International Prize Longlist: Books Translated From 10 Languages

In News by Porter Anderson

Five world regions are represented in this year’s 13 longlisted books for the Man Booker International Prize, which divides its award between translator and author.

Longlisted authors for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. Top row from left: Laurent Binet; Han Kang; László Krasznahorkai; Javier Cercas; and Antonio Munoz Molina. Center row from left: Jenny Erpenbeck; Ahmed Saadawi; Gabriela Ybarra; Virginie Despentes; Wu Ming-Yi. Bottom row from left: Ariana Harwicz; Olga Tokarczuk; and Christoph Ransmayr. Translator images are below.

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

Two Authors and Translators are Past Winners

The 13-title longlist for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize has been announced this afternoon in London (March 12), and features work from Germany, Taiwan, Iraq, Austria, Spain, France, South Korea, Argentina, Hungary, and Poland.

The Man Booker International Prize is a different award from the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, its better-known and older sister honor, which is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The international prize was “evolved,” as Booker organizers like to say, several years ago, making the honor available on the basis of a single work rather than a body of work. This was instituted with the 2016 award to author Han Kang and translator Deborah Smith for The Vegetarian.

The international prize is arguably the world’s leading award for work translated into English, and has been influential in literature award circles for its formula that evenly divides its £50,000 purse (US$69,465) between author and translator.

Those who follow the international prize closely will recognize previous winners Han Kang (2016, with translator Deborah Smith) and László Krasznahorkai (2015, with translator George Szirtes) are both on the longlist this year–Kang again with translator Smith, and Krasznahorkai this time with the translation work not only of Szirtes but also Ottilie Mulzet and John Batki.

Big Five publishers are outnumbered this year by independent houses. Harvill Secker is a Penguin Random House imprint, and MacLehose Press is a Hachette company. Each of those houses has two longlisted titles.

Translator Frank Wynne has two titles on this year’s list, one from the French (Virginie Despentes’ Vernon Subutex 1), the other from Spanish (Javier Cercas’ The Imposter). The jury has drawn its longlist from a total of 108 titles.

Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2018
  • Author Laurent Binet, translator Sam Taylor: The Seventh Function of Language (France),  Harvill Secker
  • Author Javier Cercas, translator Frank Wynne: The Impostor, (Spain), MacLehose Press
  • Author Virginie Despentes, translator Frank Wynne: Vernon Subutex 1 (France), MacLehose Press
  • Author Jenny Erpenbeck, translator Susan Bernofsky: Go, Went, Gone (Germany), Portobello Books
  • Author Han Kang, translator Deborah Smith: The White Book (South Korea), Portobello Books
  • Author Ariana Harwicz, translator Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff: Die, My Love (Argentina), Charco Press
  • Author László Krasznahorkai, translator John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet, and George Szirtes: The World Goes On (Hungary), Tuskar Rock Press
  • Author Antonio Muñoz Molina, translator Camilo A. Ramirez: Like a Fading Shadow (Spain), Tuskar Rock Press
  • Author Christoph Ransmayr, translator Simon Pare: The Flying Mountain (Austria), Seagull Books
  • Author Ahmed Saadawi, tranlsator Jonathan Wright: Frankenstein in Baghdad (Iraq), Oneworld
  • Author Olga Tokarczuk, translator Jennifer Croft: Flights (Poland), Fitzcarraldo Editions
  • Author Wu Ming-Yi, translator Darryl Sterk: The Stolen Bicycle (Taiwan), Text Publishing
  • Author Gabriela Ybarra, translator Natasha Wimmer: The Dinner Guest (Spain), Harvill Secker

The shortlist is to be announced April 12 at London’s Somerset House, and the winner will be named May 22 at a dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Longlisted translators for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. Top row from left: Jonathan Wright, Camilo A. Ramirez, Carolina Orloff, Sarah Moses, and Christoph Ransmayr. Center row from left: Natasha Wimmer, Deborah Smith, Frank Wynne, Susan Bernofsky, and George Szirtes. Bottom row from left: John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet, Sam Taylor, Jennifer Croft, and Darryl Sterk. Author images are above.

‘Great Writing and Translating Energy’

As reported last summer by Publishing Perspectives, the five-person jury for the Man Booker International this year comprises:

  • Lisa Appignanesi OBE, author and cultural commentator
  • Michael Hofmann, poet, reviewer and translator from German
  • Hari Kunzru, author of five novels including The Impressionist and White Tears
  • Tim Martin, journalist and literary critic
  • Helen Oyeyemi, author of novels, plays and short stories including The Icarus Girl

In a prepared statement, jury chair Appignanesi is quoted, saying, “We have traveled across countries, cultures, imaginations, somehow to arrive at what could have been an even longer longlist. It’s one which introduces a wealth of talent, a variety of forms and some writers little known in English before.

“It has great writing and translating energy and we hope readers take as much pleasure in discovering the work as we did.”

Books under consideration for this year’s award cycle were published in English in translation by UK publishers between May 1 2017 and April 30 of this year. At present, the Booker Foundation places no limits on how many titles a given publisher can put forward, but that factor remains under review and might be changed.

The Man Group is an active investment firm founded in 1783. Booker is a food wholesaler in the UK serving more than 350,000 independent businesses.

More of Publishing Perspectives’ coverage of the Man Booker International Prize is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.