Andrey Kurkov, Maryse Conde on International Booker list


The International Booker Prize 2023 longlist has been announced. It features work from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the oldest writer ever to be nominated, three writers who appear in English for the first time, and books translated from 11 languages. Photo: Booker Prize

Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov and acclaimed Guadeloupe-born writer Maryse Conde are among 13 contenders announced recently for the International Booker Prize for translated fiction.

Kurkov, 61, who has written widely for Western publications on Russia’s invasion of his country, is nominated for Jimi Hendrix Live In Lviv, a darkly comic portrait of life in the western Ukraine city.

Conde, often mentioned as a possible Nobel Literature Prize candidate, is nominated for The Gospel According To The New World. The writer, who is 89 and has lost her sight, dictated the novel to her husband and translator, Richard Philcox.

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year to a translated work of fiction published in Britain or Ireland. It is run alongside the Booker Prize for English-language fiction.

The longlist of books from 12 countries and 11 languages also includes Whale by Korean author Cheon Myeong-kwan, Ninth Building by China’s Zou Jingzhi, Standing Heavy by Ivorian writer GauZ' and Pyre by Indian author Perumal Murugan.

French novelist Leila Slimani, who is chairing the judging panel, said the books celebrated "literary ambition, panache, originality" and the talent of literary translators.

Six finalists will be announced on April 18 and the winner will be revealed on May 23 at a ceremony in London.

The prize was set up to boost the profile of fiction in other languages - which accounts for only a small share of books published in Britain - and to salute the often unacknowledged work of literary translators. The ₤50,000 (RM273,111) purse is split between the winning author and their translator.

Last year’s winners were Indian writer Geetanjali Shree and American translator Daisy Rockwell for Tomb Of Sand. - AP

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