At London Book Fair: The Man Booker International Prize Longlist

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With its 13 longlisted titles drawn from nine languages on three continents, the Man Booker International Prize will again split the winners’ award between author and translator.

At the 2019 London Book Fair on March 13. Image: London Book Fair

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

Eight of 13 Titles Are by Women
Among the annual collision of announcements, launches, and statements made at this week’s London Book Fair, the Man Booker International Prize has followed its tradition of naming its longlist for its 2019 honor, which will be the last under the Man Group’s sponsorship.

As Publishing Perspectives reported two weeks ago, the California-based Crankstart fund will begin its newly arranged sponsorship after the May announcement of this year’s winner.

Unlike the Booker Prize for Fiction, the Man Booker International Prize is a younger award established in 2005 to honor an author and translator equally for a work of fiction translated into English.

The prize is awarded every year for a single book, which is translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. Novels and short-story collections are eligible.

Authors and translators are considered to be equally important, with the £50,000 prize (US$66,216) being split between them. In addition, each shortlisted author and translator will receive £1,000 (US$1,324).

The initial pool of titles considered by the jurors, who were announced in July, considered 108 books.

Key points highlighted by the Booker Foundation about its newly announced longlist:

  • The list includes eight women, accounting for more than half of this year’s longlist
  • The 13 longlisted books have been translated from nine different languages, hailing from 12 countries and three continents
  • Olga Tokarczuk, who won the prize in 2018 with her American translator Jennifer Croft, appears again but this time alongside her other translator into English, London-based Antonia Lloyd-Jones, for Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  • Samanta Schweblin and her translator Megan McDowell, previously shortlisted in 2017, are longlisted
  • The longlist is dominated by independent publishers: only two titles are from the majors

The winner of Man Booker International Prize 2018 was Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft. Publishing Perspectives’ interview is here.

Now in its tenth printing, sales increased 692 percent in the month following the winner announcement. The book is now understood to be Fitzcarraldo Editions’ bestselling title of all time, and the prize win also had a knock-on effect on the publication of Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones), published in September 2018. That book is already on its fourth printing as it’s longlisted for this year’s prize.

The six-title shortlist is announced in April, the winner announced in May.

2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Can Xue (Chinese – China)Annelise Finegan WasmoenLove In The New MillenniumYale University Press

Author (Original Language –Country/territory) Translator Title/strong> Publisher, Imprint
Jokha Alharthi (Arabic – Oman) Marilyn Booth Celestial Bodies Sandstone Press Ltd
Can Xue (Chinese – China) Annelise Finegan Wasmoen Love In The New Millennium Yale University Press
Annie Ernaux (French – France) Alison L. Strayer The Years Fitzcarraldo Editions
Hwang Sok-yong (Korean – South Korea) Sora Kim-Russell At Dusk Scribe, UK
Mazen Maarouf (Arabic – Iceland and Palestine) Jonathan Wright Jokes For The Gunmen Granta, Portobello Books
Hubert Mingarelli (French – France) Sam Taylor Four Soldiers Granta, Portobello Books
Marion Poschmann (German – Germany) Jen Calleja The Pine Islands Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail
Samanta Schweblin (Spanish – Argentina and Italy) Megan McDowell Mouthful Of Birds Oneworld
Sara Stridsberg (Swedish – Sweden) Deborah Bragan-Turner The Faculty Of Dreams Quercus, MacLehose Press
Olga Tokarczuk (Polish – Poland) Antonia Lloyd-Jones Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead Fitzcarraldo Editions
Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish – Colombia) Anne McLean The Shape Of The Ruins Quercus, MacLehose Press
Tommy Wieringa (Dutch – The Netherlands) Sam Garrett The Death Of Murat Idrissi Scribe, UK
Alia Trabucco Zerán (Spanish – Chile and Italy) Sophie Hughes The Remainder And Other Stories

Books under consideration have been published in English in translation by UK publishers between 1 May 2018 and 30 April.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the London Book Fair is here, and more on both Man Booker Prize programs is here.

Our Spring Magazine is ready for your free download during the London Book Fair—where you’ll find the print edition available, also free of charge.

Read up on the issues and players important at LBF and other major fairs of the season this year, plus an early look at key points interest about the coming Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 16 to 20).

Download the new magazine here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, at London's The Bookseller. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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