On Tuesday 9 April, the Man Booker International Prize revealed the shortlist of six titles in contention for the 2019 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.
- Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Oman), translated by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press Ltd) See the readers’ guide.
- The Years by Annie Ernaux (France), translated by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions) See the readers’ guide.
- The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (Germany), translated by Jen Calleja (Profile Books, Serpents Tail) See the readers’ guide.
- Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions) See the readers’ guide".
- The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia), translated by Anne McLean (Quercus, MacLehose Press) See the readers’ guide.
- The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile and Italy), translated by Sophie Hughes (And Other Stories) See the readers’ guide.
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 list spans five languages: Arabic, French, German, Polish and Spanish.
You can download readers’ guides for each of the shortlisted books. Readers’ guides for the full longlist can be found on the Man Booker Prize website. The books can be borrowed from your local library, or you can buy books for you or your group from hive.co.uk to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you.
“Each book nourishes creative conversation.”
Bettany Hughes, chair of the judging panel:
“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.”
The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced on Tuesday 21 May at a formal dinner at the Roundhouse in London.
What do you think of the 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.
Download fantastic Readers’ Guides for every one of the longlisted titles from the Man Booker Prize website.