At London Book Fair: International Booker Prize Shortlist

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The six-title 2022 International Booker Prize shortlist has been announced on London Book Fair’s final day.

The translator Frank Wynne, chair of the International Booker 2022 jury and a champion of appropriate payment for translators, announces the shortlist to a packed Buzz Theatre at London Book Fair on Thursday, April 7. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

Two Independent Publishers Debut on the Shortlist
Tshortlist has been announced today (April 7), as the International Booker Prize this morning named its 2022 top half-dozen titles.

Here at London Book Fair on its final day, the Booker Foundation made its first such announcement appearance at the trade show, for a crowd of colleagues and well-wishers.

For any background you may need on this year’s competition, please see our longlist announcement here.

Naming the six fortunate shortlistees this morning was jury chair Frank Wynne, who was serenaded by the entire gaggle at the Buzz Theatre with “Happy Birthday” on his 60th.

Wynne is not only the first translator to have served in this capacity, but also a new hero among his fellow translators and those who appreciate literature in translation for having called for publishers to pay their translators royalties.

He made an intensely influential appeal last month in a BBC Radio 4’s Front Row appearance with the Booker Foundation’s handsome supp0rt and in concert with translator Jennifer Croft, who has just been shortlisted for a second translation of an Olga Tokarczuk work, this year for The Books of Jacob. With Tokarczuk, she was awarded the 2018 Booker International Prize for her translation of Flights.

We have a detailed article on Wynne’s and Croft’s efforts for translators, which are being supported by the Society of Authors and many others. This is among the most heavily read of our stories so far in 2022.

The Newly Announced Shortlist

Image: The Booker Foundation

The shortlist is dominated by independent publishers. Tilted Axis and Honford Star are new to the prize. 

The shortlist spans six languages: Korean, Norwegian, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi and Polish, with settings ranging across Europe and Asia, from the mid-18th century to contemporary times.

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.

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.

International Booker Prize 2022 Shortlist
Title Author Translator Original Language Author Residence Publisher or Imprint
Cursed Bunny Bora Chung Anton Hur Korean South Korea Honford Star
A New Name: Septology VI-VII Jon Fosse Damion Searls Norwegian Norway Fitzcarraldo Editions
Heaven Mieko Kawakami Samuel Bett and David Boyd Japanese Japan Pan Macmillan/Picador
Elena Knows Claudia Piñeiro Frances Riddle Spanish Argentina Charco Press
Tomb of Sand Geetanjali Shree Daisy Rockwell Hindi India Tilted Axis Press
The Books of Jacob Olga Tokarczuk Jennifer Croft Polish Poland Fitzcarraldo Editions
Jury Details

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

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.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 70th awards-related report published in the 69 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

The administrator of the International Booker Prize is Fiammetta Rocco, senior editor and culture correspondent with The Economist. She introduced the shortlist announcement on April 7 at London Book Fair. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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 London Book Fair, which ends today, 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.