The International Booker Prize’s 2024 Longlist

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The International Booker Prize team points to a quarter of its 2024 longlist as evidence of a ‘second Latin American boom’ in literature.

Image: Booker Prize Foundation

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

‘Stunning Evocations of Place and Time’
This afternoon here in London (March 11), the Booker Prize Foundation has released its longlist for the 2024 edition of the International Booker Prize.

The key point being stressed as this longlist, of so many this season, is released is that a quarter of the list comes from South American authors. Markets represented by those books are Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Venezuela. Whether this reveals the “second ‘boom’ in Latin American fiction” the company is positing will be revealed, of course, over time.

Independent publishers are in the lead with nine titles.

The focus of this Booker is translation, and its £50,000 prize (US$64,212) is to be split into £25,000 (US$32,106) for the author and £25,000 for the translator—or divided equally between multiple translators. There also is a purse of £5,000 (US$6,421) for each of the shortlisted titles: £2,500 (US$3,210) for the author and £2,500 for the translator or, again, divided equally between multiple translators.

Since its first recipient was named in 2005—and until 2015 the honor was conferred only every other year—the International Booker Prize has become the world’s leading recognition of its kind, a pace-setting award known for its equal acknowledgment of authors and translators. This prize is also the inspiration for other similar awards, including the United States’ National Book Awards’ Translated Literature category, announced in January 2018 by chair David Steinberger and then-director Lisa Lucas in New York.

The jury operating this year comprises:

  •  Eleanor Wachtel as chair
  • Poet Natalie Diaz
  • Novelist Romesh Gunesekera
  • Visual artist William Kentridge
  • Writer, editor and translator Aaron Robertson

Their selection was made from 149 books published between May 1 of last year and April 30 and submitted by publishers.

Submissions reached the highest number since the prize was relaunched in its current format in 2016. This year’s submissions were made up of books originally written in 32 languages, up from 27 in 2023.

The original languages with the most books submitted were French (26 books), Spanish (21), Japanese (15), German (12), Italian (eight), and Arabic (eight).

Since 2016, books representing 63 languages have been submitted for the prize, ranging from Farsi and Vietnamese to Kikuyu and Welsh. A book translated from Armenian was submitted for the first time this year.

The 2024 International Booker Prize Longlist
Title Original Language Author Author Nationality Translator(s) Translator Nationality UK Publisher/Imprint
Not a River Spanish Selva Almada Argentinian Annie McDermott British Charco Press
Simpatía Spanish Rodrigo Blanco Calderón Venezuelan Noel Hernández González and Daniel Hahn Spanish and British Seven Stories Press UK
Kairos German Jenny Erpenbeck German Michael Hofmann German Granta Books
The Details Swedish Ia Genberg Swedish Kira Josefsson Swedish Wildfire Books
White NIghts Polish Ursula Honek Polish Kate Webster British MTO Press
Mater 2-10 Korean Hwang Sok-yong Korean Sora Kim-Russell and Youngjae Josephine Bae Korean-American and Korean Scribe Publications UK
A Dictator Calls Albanian Ismail Kadare Albanian John Hodgson British Penguin Random House / Harvill Secker
The Silver Bone: The Kyiv Mysteries Russian Andrey Kurkov Ukrainian Boris Dralyuk Ukrainian-American Hachette UK / MacLehose Press
What I’d Rather Not Think About Dutch Jente Posthuma Dutch Sarah Timmer Harvey Australian Scribe Publications UK
Lost on Me Italian Veronica Raimo Italian Leah Janeczko American Hachette UK / Virago
The House on Via Gemito Italian Dominico Starnone Italian Oonagh Stransky American-Italian Europa Editions
Crooked Plow Portuguese Itamar Vieira Junor Brazilian Johnny Lorenz American Verso Fiction
Undiscovered  Spanish Gabriela Wiener Peruvian Julia Sanches Brazilian Pushkin Press
Booker Foundation Comments

In a comment of rationale from the jury panel chair, the journalist and broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel, we read, “From a protest on the top of a factory chimney in South Korea to a transformative fishing trip in remote Argentina, from the violent streets of Kyiv in 1919 to a devastating sexual relationship in 1980s East Berlin, our longlisted books offer stunning evocations of place and time.

Eleanor Wachtel

“Here are voices that reflect original angles of observation. In compelling, at times lyrical modes of expression, they tell stories that give us insight into—among other things—the ways political power drives our lives.

“I’ve always looked to fiction as a way to inhabit other places, other sensibilities. And through my experience of interviewing international authors, I’ve come to marvel at the ability of translators to expand those worlds, to deepen our understanding of different cultures, and to build a global community of readers not constricted by borders.

“That same excitement informed the discussions with my fellow panelists since last summer.  It’s stimulating to hear about a book that’s been read from a different perspective and presented in a most articulate way.”

Fiammetta Rocco

And Fiammetta Rocco, the administrator of the International Booker, says, “The jurors were drawn to books that, in a violent world, emphasize our common humanity: books that speak of courage and kindness, of the vital importance of community, and of the effects of standing up to tyranny. Many of their chosen 13 books have this at their heart.

“While some authors and their books might not be familiar to English-speaking readers, they are celebrated in their own countries. I’m proud that the International Booker Prize is now helping to bring these epic stories, identified by the judges, to the attention of the anglophone world.

“The list highlights [a] growing pool of talented South American writers, signaling a second ‘boom’ in Latin American fiction. When asked last year why Ireland has the best writers, after four Irish authors appeared on the Booker Prize longlist for 2023, the eventual winner Paul Lynch said: ‘Can I let you into a secret? I think South America has the best writers.’

“It has been fantastic to see two Latin American titles shortlisted in previous years recently become successful Netflix adaptations, Elena Knows and Hurricane Season.”

Market Impact

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the Booker Prizes have led the way in reporting sales trends on their winning books. This service removes the requirement that the industry take it on faith that a given book or publishing contest does something valuable for a book’s sales. We encourage other contests to follow suit and arrange to report such information,

In the week after Georgi Gospodinov’s Time Shelter in Angela Rodel’s translation in 2023, the foundation reports today, its publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson saw a 435-percent increase in sales compared to the previous week. It has now sold more than 92,000 copies of the book across all its editions.

Time Shelter was selected as a Waterstones Paperback of the Year, and the publisher has overseen a new unabridged audio production narrated by Toby Stephens.

More broadly, the foundation reports on translated literature in its media messaging today, saying that in 2023, according to Nielsen BookData, sales of translated fiction grew by +11 percent in value to £25 million m in the UK (US$32.2 million), with fiction overall growing +4 percent) and 3 percent in volume.

Fiction overall was down -5 percent, indicating even more graphically how strong a lift translated literature reportedly has had on the United Kingdom’s home market.

Younger readers are a significant component here. “In 2022, according to research by Nielsen commissioned by the Booker Prize Foundation,” we read, “48 percent of all translated fiction was purchased by consumers younger than 35 (versus 32 percent for overall fiction).

Among TikTok’s top BookTok hashtags, the #translatedfiction hashtag now appears in its top hashtag ratings and its usage has doubled since 2023,” the Booker team reports.

A Programming Note

On the opening day of the London Book Fair on Tuesday (March 12), a panel will look at this data on translated literature and its readers at 12:10 p.m. in the Literary Translation Center.

The 2023 winners Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel will be interviewed by journalist Rosie Goldsmith at the Bulgarian stand at 2.30 p.m. as well.

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 of our coverage of the 2024 London Book Fair:

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.

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