Awards: The International Booker Prize 2022 Longlist

In News, Opinion & Commentary by Porter Anderson

The 13-title 2022 International Booker Prize longlist includes three books each from Tilted Axis Press and Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Image: Booker Foundation

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

‘The Power of Language and Literature’
A record year in submissions and a two-and-a-half-time increase in the purse for each shortlisted title are elements of the story this year as the International Booker Prize this morning (March 10) announces its 2022 longlist of 13 titles.

Translated from 11 languages and 12 nations on four continents, the program features a work in Hindi for the first time.

This year, the total value of the prize goes up to £80,000 (US$105,368). The jump is thanks to an increase from £1,000 to a welcome £2,500 (US$3,290) for each of the award’s shortlisted authors and translators, who are to be announced on April 7 at London Book Fair (April 5 to 7).

The winning translator and author will split £50,000 (US$65,835). An announcement of those winners is anticipated for May 25 at London’s One Marylebone suite of event venues, a renovation of John Soane’s Holy Trinity Church originally completed in 1828.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the longlist being announced today is not for the Booker Prize for Fiction. The International Booker Prize is the younger sister to the Booker Prize for Fiction, and was established in 2005 to honor an author and translator equally for a single work of fiction translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The International Booker Prize’s Impact on Sales

One of the biggest services that the Booker Foundation provides to the publishing industry is a sense for what kind of impact its awards are having on sales. In a book business awash in awards, surprisingly few programs offer this information. While boosts in sales are often cited as the rationale for there being so many prize programs in the book business, the actual bookselling efficacy of most awards is rarely backed up with publicly announced statistics.

We continue to hope that more of the myriad awards in the industry will follow the Booker program’s lead and issue such information. Indeed, longer-term and more detailed information would be welcome from the Booker team, as well.

  • The announcement of the 2021 International Booker Prize winner, At  Night All Blood Is Black, written by David Diop and translated by Anna Moschovakis, the foundation reports, saw the book’s publisher, Pushkin  Press, ordering a five-figure reprint the day after the winner announcement.
  • The week following the winner announcement, sales of At Night All Blood Is Black saw a  477-percent sales increase over the week before.

Former United States president Barack Obama, known to follow both Booker prizes, listed At Night All Blood Is Black at the top of his summer  reading list.  

Honoring Authors and Translators Equally

Hewing closely to a part of Publishing Perspectives’ internationalist mission, this prize is intended “to encourage more publishing and reading of quality works of imagination from all over the world, and to  give greater recognition to the role of translators.” Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. And the award has the distinction of being among the first to divide its recognition equally between translators and authors, something now reflected in the National Book Awards’s translation category in the United States.

Returning this year are two previously winning author-translator pairs—Olga Tokarczuk and Jennifer Croft; and David Grossman and Jessica Cohen.

Croft is the translator who, with author Mark Haddon and the Society of Authors on International Translation Day 2021, launched the important #TranslatorsOnTheCover campaign to urge publishers to offer equal credit to translators and authors (as the International Booker does), by publishing both authors’ and translators’ names on the covers of translated works. Not every publisher longlisted by the Booker today does this.

This year, the independent Tilted Axis Press appears for the first time in the International Booker Prize longlist, and with three titles. Tilted Axis was founded by an International Booker Prize winner, Deborah Smith.

Fitzcarraldo Editions, a very familiar translation house, also has three titles on the longlist. Of the major publishers, Penguin Random House, Hachette, and Pan Macmillan appear this year, each with one title from one of their imprints and divisions.

Translator Anton Hur has the honor of being longlisted for two works this year.

This year’s International Booker Prize jury started with that record opening pool of submissions, numbering 135 entries, to produce its longlist.

International Booker Prize 2022 Longlist
Title Author Translator Original Language Author Residence Publisher or Imprint
Cursed Bunny Bora Chung Anton Hur Korean South Korea Honford Star
After the Sun Jonas Eika Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg Danish Denmark Lolli Editions
A New Name: Septology VI-VII Jon Fosse Damion Searls Norwegian Norway Fitzcarraldo Editions
More Than I Love My Life David Grossman Jessica Cohen Hebrew Israel Penguin Random House UK/Jonathan Cape
The Book of Mother Violaine Huisman Leslie Camhi French France Hachette UK/Little, Brown/Virago
Heaven Mieko Kawakami Samuel Bett and David Boyd Japanese Japan Pan Macmillan/Picador
Paradais Fernanda Melchor Sophie Hughes Spanish Mexico Fitzcarraldo Editions
Love in the Big City Sang Young Park Anton Hur Korean South Korea Tilted Axis Press
Happy Stories, Mostly Norman Erikson Pasaribu Tiffany Tsao Indonesian Indonesia Tilted Axis Press
Elena Knows Claudia Piñeiro Frances Riddle Spanish Argentina Charco Press
Phenotypes Paulo Scott Daniel Hahn Portuguese Brazil And Other Stories
Tomb of Sand Geetanjali Shree Daisy Rockwell Hindi India Tilted Axis Press
The Books of Jacob Olga Tokarczuk Jennifer Croft Polish Poland Fitzcarraldo Editions
Frank Wynne: ‘From the Intimate to the Epic’

For the first time, a translator, Frank Wynne, chairs the International Booker Prize jury.

Wynne is joined by:

  • Author and academic Merve Emre
  • Writer and lawyer Petina Gappah
  • Writer, comedian a presenter in television, radio, and podcasts Viv Groskop
  • Translator and  author Jeremy Tiang

Frank Wynne

In a prepared statement for this morning’s announcement, Wynne is quoted, saying, “[Jorge Luis] Borges famously believed that paradise would be ‘a kind of library,’ and spending the  past year in the company of some of the world’s great writers and their equally gifted  translators has been a kind of heaven.

“From the intimate to the epic, the numinous to the  profane, the books make up a passionately-debated longlist that trace a ring around the world.

“These 13 titles from 12 countries and 11 languages explore the breadth and depth of human experience, and are a testament to the power of language and literature.”

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 45th awards report published in the 49 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

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

More 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.