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2023 International Booker Prize ‘subversive and sensual’ shortlist announced

The judges of the 2023 International Booker Prize have revealed the six shortlisted books representing the finest translated fiction from around the world. The announcement was made by the Chair of judges, Leïla Slimani, at an event held at the London Book Fair and livestreamed to readers around the world.

The Shortlist

  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated from Catalan by Julia Sanches
  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-Kwan, translated from Korean by Chi-Young Kim
  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated from French by Richard Philcox
  • Standing Heavy by GauZ’, translated from French by Frank Wynne
  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated from Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey

You can find reading guides to the books on the International Booker Prize 2023 shortlist on the International Booker Prize website.

The shortlist of six novels includes works originating in six countries across four continents, and features:

  • Books that explore the challenges of motherhood, the struggles of undocumented workers and the
    dangers of nostalgia
  • ‘A distinctly Korean take on Great Expectations’ plus novels by ‘the grande dame of Caribbean
    literature’ and ‘a Proust from the East’
  • First nominations for books translated from Bulgarian and Catalan
  • A wife and husband author-translator team
  • One translator and one author who have been recognised by the prize before
  • A book published in its original language almost 20 years ago
  • Work by three poets, a film director and a former security guard
  • Two debut novels and one final novel – the latter by the oldest writer ever to be shortlisted

Find out more about the titles and why they were selected for the list with the Six things to know about the 2023 shortlist.

What the judges said

This year’s judging panel includes Leïla Slimani (Chair), prize-winning French-Moroccan novelist; Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukraine; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at the New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, literary editor of the Financial Times.

Leïla Slimani, chair of the judges says:"I think I speak for the whole jury when I say that I am proud of this list. I think it’s a very cool, very sexy list. We wanted each book to feel like an astonishment and to stand on its own.

These books are all bold, subversive, nicely perverse. There is something sneaky about a lot of them. I also feel that these are sensual books, where the question of the body is important. What is it like to have a body? How do you write about the experience of the body? These are not abstract or theoretical books, but on the contrary, very grounded books, about people, places, moments. All these authors also question the narrative and what it means to write a novel today.

What is extraordinary about literature is that when a novel is successful, it works for anyone, anywhere. There’s something really magical about storytelling. And we have had the joy of experiencing this by reading the books on this list. We have been caught up in these stories, dazzled, fascinated and it is these emotions that we want to share. I’m very happy to offer this list to readers – a list of remarkable variety, where they will find poetry, fantasy, eroticism and metaphysics."

Find out why, according to the judges, you should read the shortlisted books here.

The shortlist was chosen by the International Booker Prize 2023 judges from a longlist of 13 titles announced in March, which was selected from 134 books published in the UK or Ireland between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023 and submitted to the prize by publishers.

The winner of the International Booker Prize 2023 will be announced at a ceremony at Sky Garden in London on Tuesday 23 May.

Get involved

Librarians and teachers we have a free promotional pack to help you celebrate the International Booker Prize available in our shop.

Your reading group can select one of the shortlisted titles for your next reading group pick! You can find reading guides to support your discussion here.

Have you read any of the shortlisted books? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Instagram using #InternationalBooker2023, or click on a title above to leave a review.

The Booker Prizes’ Book of the Month

Each month the Booker Prizes’ Book of the Month shines a spotlight on a different work of fiction from among the 600+ titles in the Booker Library, through reading guides, extracts, opinion pieces, competitions and discussions on our social channels. We will be updating this page on our website every month. Find out more here.


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