The Man Booker International Prize 2019 shortlist announced

09 April 2019

The Man Booker International Prize has this evening, Tuesday 9 April, revealed the shortlist of the six books in contention for the 2019 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world. The £50,000 prize for the winning book will be divided equally between its author and translator. The announcement was made at an event at Somerset House.


The 2019 shortlist is as follows:

Author (Original Language –Country/territory) Translator Title Publisher, Imprint
Jokha Alharthi (Arabic - Oman) Marilyn Booth Celestial Bodies Sandstone Press
Annie Ernaux (French - France) Alison L. Strayer The Years Fitzcarraldo
Marion Poschmann (German - Germany) Jen Calleja The Pine Islands Profile Books, Serpent's Tail
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 MacLehose Press, Quercus
Alia Trabucco Zerán (Spanish - Chile) Sophie Hughes The Remainder And Other Stories

The list includes Olga Tokarczuk, who won the prize in 2018 for Flights, with her other translator into English, Antonia Lloyd-Jones; Jokha Alharthi, the first writer from the Arabian Gulf to be longlisted for the prize, alongside Marilyn Booth; and Alia Trabucco Zerán, who makes the list with her debut novel translated by Sophie Hughes. The list also includes The Years by Annie Ernaux and translated by Alison L. Strayer, which has already won prizes including Prix Renaudot in France and Premio Strega in Italy.

This year’s stories include the pilgrimage of a lecturer on beard fashions over the pine islands of Matsushima, a tale of Colombian conspiracy theories, and an environmental whodunnit with a cast of eccentric characters. Family connections and history are also present in the coming-of-age account of three Omani sisters, the story of three children of ex-militants overcoming Chile’s complex past, and an evocative narrative of France from 1941 to 2006 which blends the personal and the collective to present memories of a generation.

The shortlist is dominated by independent publishers, with two books from Fitzcarraldo Editions, and one each from Sandstone Press, Profile Books and Serpent's Tail.

The list spans five languages: Arabic, French, German, Polish and Spanish.

Bettany Hughes, chair of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, says:

‘Wisdom in all its forms is here. Unexpected and unpredictable narratives compelled us to choose this vigorous shortlist. Subversive and intellectually ambitious with welcome flashes of wit, each book nourishes creative conversation. We were struck by the lucidity and supple strength of all the translations.’

More judges’ comments on each book can be found in ‘Book synopses and biographies’ in the lower part of this release.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Bettany Hughes, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, and is made up of writer, translator and chair of English PEN Maureen Freely; philosopher Professor Angie Hobbs; novelist and satirist Elnathan John and essayist and novelist Pankaj Mishra.

The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced on 21 May at a formal dinner at the Roundhouse in London. I @ManBookerPrize I #MBI2019 #FinestFiction



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