The Man Booker International Prize, on Thursday 20 April, revealed the six shortlisted novels in contention for the 2017 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.
The prize is awarded every year for a single book, which is translated into English and published in the UK. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible, and the writer and translator are rewarded equally for their contribution.
The 2017 shortlist is as follows:
- Compass by Mathias Enard (France), translated by Charlotte Mandell (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
- A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman (Israel), translated by Jessica Cohen (Jonathan Cape)
- The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (Norway), translated by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw (Maclehose)
- Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors (Denmark), translated by Misha Hoekstra (Pushkin Press)
- Judas by Amos Oz (Israel), translated by Nicholas de Lange (Chatto & Windus)
- Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), translated by Megan McDowell (Oneworld)
The list includes one writer who was previously a finalist for the prize in 2007, Amos Oz. He is one of two writers from Israel (the other is David Grossman) who have been shortlisted, along with a writer from South America, Samanta Schweblin, and three from Europe: two Scandinavians, Roy Jacobsen and Dorthe Nors and a Prix Goncourt winner, Mathias Enard from France.
The settings range from an Israeli comedy club to contemporary Copenhagen, from a sleepless night in Vienna to a troubled delirium in Argentina. The list is dominated by contemporary settings but also features a divided Jerusalem of 1959 and a remote island in Norway in the early 20th century.
The translators are all established practitioners of their craft: this is the 17th novel by Oz that Nicholas de Lange has translated and Roy Jacobsen’s co-translators Don Bartlett and Don Shaw have worked together many times before.
The shortlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and consisting of: Daniel Hahn, an award-winning writer, editor and translator; Elif Shafak, a prize-winning novelist and one of the most widely read writers in Turkey; Chika Unigwe, author of four novels including On Black Sisters’ Street; and Helen Mort, a poet who has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize, and has won a Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award five times.
The six shortlisted books have been translated from 11 different languages, across Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. The winner of the first ever Man Booker International Prize in 2005, Ismail Kadare, is on the longlist, along with three authors who have been finalists for the prize and two who have novels published in English for the first time.
Nick Barley, chair of the 2017 judging panel, says:
“Our shortlist spans the epic and the everyday. From fevered dreams to sleepless nights, from remote islands to overwhelming cities, these wonderful novels shine a light on compelling individuals struggling to make sense of their place in a complex world…”
The winner of the 2017 prize will be announced on 14 June at a formal dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Reading Group shadowing
Six of our brilliant reading groups are shadowing the shortlist this year. They will each read and review one of the titles before the winner announcement. They will be discussing their experience across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #MBI2017. We will introduce this year’s shadow groups soon.
Don’t forget to visit our Noticeboard for other great reading group opportunities.
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What do you think of the 2017 shortlisted titles? Which have you read and what will be added to your TBR pile? Add your comments below, or click any title above to leave a review.
Take a look at the brilliant Readers’ Guides created by the prize for all of the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ on our resources page.
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