This year, I’m taking part in the shadow jury for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The IFFP is given to a UK-published work of fiction in translation (with the prize split equally between author and translator). The shadow jury, organised by Stu from Winston’s Dad, is a group of bloggers/tweeters who read and review the IFFP longlist, then select their own shortlist and ‘winner’. I’m really excited at the prospect of joining in.
The IFFP longlist was announced yesterday; so, without further ado, here it is:
Sinan Antoon The Corpse Washer (Arabic; translated by the author) Yale University Press
Hassan Blasim The Iraqi Christ (Arabic; trans. Jonathan Wright) Comma Press
Julia Franck Back to Back (German; trans. Anthea Bell) Harvill Secker
Sayed Kashua Exposure (Hebrew; trans. Mitch Ginsberg) Chatto & Windus
Hiromi Kawakami Strange Weather in Tokyo (Japanese; trans. Allison Markin Powell) Portobello Books
Karl Ove Knausgaard A Man in Love (Norwegian; trans. Don Bartlett) Harvill Secker
Andrej Longo Ten (Italian; trans. Howard Curtis) Harvill Secker
Ma Jian The Dark Road (Chinese; trans. Flora Drew) Chatto & Windus
Andreï Makine Brief Loves that Live Forever (French; trans. Geoffrey Strachan) MacLehose Press
Javier Marías The Infatuations (Spanish; trans. Margaret Jull Costa) Hamish Hamilton
Hubert Mingarelli A Meal in Winter (French; trans. Sam Taylor) Portobello Books
Yoko Ogawa Revenge (Japanese; trans. Stephen Snyder) Harvill Secker
Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir Butterflies in November (Icelandic; trans. Brian FitzGibbon) Pushkin Press
Jón Kalman Stefánsson The Sorrow of Angels (Icelandic; trans. Philip Roughton) MacLehose Press
Birgit Vanderbeke The Mussel Feast (German; trans. Jamie Bulloch) Peirene Press
(Details taken from the Independent.)
I’ve read only three of these, so I can’t say a lot at the moment; but this certainly seems a nicely diverse selection. Ten languages represented, three short story collections, and a third of the titles by women (which is higher than the proportion among UK-published translated fiction as a whole).
The official IFFP shortlist will be announced on 8 April, and the winner on 22 May. So how am I going to tackle the reading in that time? I’ll start with the books I haven’t read (though I do hope to re-read the others as well); current plan is to blog two books per post, around 300 words each, but that’s not set in stone. I will use the list above as an index of reviews; I’ve already reviewed Exposure and The Mussel Feast, but I’ll revisit them if time allows.
Finally let me introduce you to the other members of the shadow jury:
There’s also this post at The Mookse and the Gripes, which is tracking reviews of the longlisted titles.
OK, I think that’s everything: time to start reading…
8th March 2014 at 3:31 pm
I feel fairly certain that I won’t have them all read by the time the short list is announced in four weeks. But, I will do my best, and certainly I’ll be choosing my favorite for a winner. Last year my favorite was The Detour, which did in fact win, so that has made me smile. Good to be reading along with you and the others!
9th March 2014 at 4:50 pm
Look forward to your thoughts david