Man Booker International Prize Announces Its 2018 Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

The 2018 Man Booker International shortlist spans four European languages: French, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish, and includes Han Kang and Deborah Smith, who won in 2016.

Shortlisted authors for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, clockwise from upper left, are Olga Tokarczuk, Han Kang, Ahmed Saadawi, László Krasznahorkai, Virginie Despentes, and Antonio Munez Molina. Images: Man Booker International Prize

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

Winning Author, Translator Named May 22

In a week already full of launches, announcements, and press releases, the Man Booker International Prize has added its shortlist for six books now in contention for the 2018 prize Thursday evening (April 12).

The winner of the 2018 prize will be announced on May 22 at a formal dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. As covered by Publishing Perspectives, the shortlist is drawn from an initial “Booker dozen” longlist of 13.

It’s important to remember that this is not the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. That’s the signature program of the foundation, now celebrating its 50th year.

The International Prize, by contrast, is the program that awards translated fiction from many parts of the world with a prize of £50,000 (US$71,184) equally divided between the winning work’s translator and author.

The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Shortlist

  • Author Virginie Despentes, translator Frank WynneVernon Subutex 1 (France), MacLehose Press
  • Author Han Kang, translator Deborah SmithThe White Book (South Korea), Portobello Books
  • Author László Krasznahorkai, translator John BatkiOttilie Mulzet, and George SzirtesThe World Goes On (Hungary), Tuskar Rock Press
  • Author Antonio Muñoz Molina, translator Camilo A. RamirezLike a Fading Shadow (Spain), Tuskar Rock Press
  • Author Ahmed Saadawi, translator Jonathan WrightFrankenstein in Baghdad (Iraq), Oneworld
  • Author Olga Tokarczuk, translator Jennifer CroftFlights (Poland), Fitzcarraldo Editions

The settings range from the rock music scene in Paris, to the streets of Baghdad where a monster roams wild, to James Earl Ray’s short stay in Lisbon fleeing law enforcement. Two of these novels span the globe, one charting Chopin’s heart making a covert voyage from Paris to Warsaw, and one featuring men on the edge of despair in Kiev, Varanasi and Shanghai. One novel is a meditation on the color white and an investigation of mourning and rebirth.

The translators are all at the forefront of their craft, with John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes a well-established team for Krasznahorkai, and Deborah Smith translating every work by Han Kang. Frank Wynne comes through with his French translation, having also been longlisted for a translation from Spanish.

The shortlist is dominated by independent publishers, with two books from Tuskar Rock Press, and one each from MacLehose Press, Portobello Books, Oneworld and Fitzcarraldo Editions.

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

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.