London’s International Booker Prize Names Its 2022 Jurors

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

For the first time, a translator will chair the International Booker Prize jury, with Singapore-born translator Jeremy Tiang aboard, as well.

A shot from Central London, a year ago, July 12, 2020. On July 19 (2021), Boris Johnson’s government expects to lift final COVID-19 restrictions, despite a sharp rise in new cases. Clubs are to reopen, social gathering restrictions are to be removed. Image – Getty iStockphoto: VV Shots

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

Shortlisted Authors and Translators’ Prize Money Increases
In an announcement this morning (July 14), the Booker Prize Foundation in the United Kingdom has announced its jury for the 2022 International Booker Prize as submissions open to publishers for the 2022 award cycle.

Frank Wynne becomes the program’s first translator to chair an International Booker jury, in a 2022 cycle that will see a longlist announced in March, a shortlist in April, and a winner in May.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, this is not the Booker Prize for Fiction. The 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.

As in the past, the £50,000 prize (US$69,082) is to be split equally between the winning author and translator. Shortlisted authors and translators will each be given £2,500 ($3,453)—a handsome increase from £1,000 in the past ($1381). The 2022 jurors will be looking at entries published in the United Kingdom or Ireland between May 1 of this year and April 30.

The Booker program, in making today’s announcement, reports that the 2021 winner, At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop and translated by Anna Maschovakis, has seen a 477-percent sale increase over the week prior to being named the winner. The British publisher of the book, Pushkin Press, has ordered what the Booker Foundation says is a five-figure

Frank Wynne

In a prepared statement for today’s announcement, Wynne, the new jury chair, is quoted, saying, “There is no art more intimate than fiction, no connection more electrifying than that between writer and reader. Among an author’s most privileged, most attentive readers are the translators tasked with bringing a work from one language to another.

“To this day, I’m in awe of the strange magic performed by people I now consider colleagues, and friends.

“I feel excited and daunted to set out on this global journey with such a distinguished group of judges, eager to discover what countries we will visit, what voices we will hear, what stories we will be told. I can imagine no better way to spend a year than in the company of some of the finest writers and their translators from around the globe.”

The 2022 International Booker Prize Jury

From left: Merve Emre, Petina Gappah, and Mel Giedroyc

Wynne is an Irish literary translator from French and Spanish. In more than 20 years, he has translated authors including Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Modiano, Emiliano Monge, Alice Zeniter and Virginie Despentes.

His translations have attracted a number of awards, including the 2002 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (jointly with the author) for Atomised by Michel Houellebecq; and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2005.

Wynne has been given the Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation from French and the Premio Valle Inclán for translation from Spanish, twice each.

Most recently, the Booker Foundation reports, his translation of Animalia by Jean-Baptiste del Amo won the 2020 Republic of Consciousness Prize. That title is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions (March 2019).

He has edited two major anthologies, Found in Translation: 100 0f the Finest Short Stories Ever Translated (2018) and QUEER: LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday (2021), both published by Head of Zeus.

Jeremy Tiang

Another translator joins Wynne on the panel for 2022, the gifted and prolific Jeremy Tiang, who is also the author of his own works, State of Emergency from Edmund Wee’s Epigram Books (2017) and It Never Rains on National Day (Epigram Books, 2016).

Tiang has translated more than 20 books from Chinese, the authors of which include Yan Ge, Yeng Pway Ngon and Chan Ho-Kei.

Now based in New York City, he was London Book Fair’s first-designated “Literary Translator of the Fair,” announced by then-director Jacks Thomas for 2019, the last time the trade show was held in its physical venue at Olympia London prior to the onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Tiang was born in Singapore, and was guest editor in 2018 of a strong issue of Words Without Borders focused on Macau’s literature.

He’s to be one of four translators in residence at Princeton University in the spring.

  • Merve Emre is Turkish-American author and academic. She’s associate professor of English literature at the University of Oxford and author of several books, including The Personality Brokers, which was adapted as the 2021 HBO Max Originals documentary film PersonaShe’s a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books.
  • Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer and attorney, currently the principal legal advisor to the secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area based in Accra. Gappah is a novelist and playwright, the author of Out of Darkness, Shining Light, and The Book of Memory, and two short-story collections, Rotten Row and An Elegy for Easterly. Her work has been published in more than a dozen languages.
  • Mel Giedroyc is a British television presenter, writer, and actor. She studied modern languages at Trinity, Cambridge. Giedroyc is best known for her work with Sue Perkins in shows such as the Great British Bake Off (BBC) and Light Lunch (Channel 4). Giedroyc most recently appeared  the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End. Her first novel, The Best Things, was released in April.

In another prepared statement, Fiammetta Rocco, administrator of the International Booker, is quoted saying, “The five judges, led by Frank Wynne, bring together a wealth of experience as world-class readers, writers, critics, and translators. The discussions they will have about the books in contention for the 2022 International Booker Prize will be a masterclass of modern literary appreciation.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on the International Booker Prize is here, more from us on translation is here, and more from us on international publishing and book awards programs is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing 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.