Discovering new authors is one of the great joys of reading and the International Man Booker Prize, which publishes work in translation, provides seemingly endless inspiration. I’m clearly not alone as, according to Neilson which tracks such statistics, sales of works not initially written in English, are at an all-time high. So there’s plenty of rich pickings in the long list just announced for the 2019 competition. It includes work from countries such as Oman, Iceland, Palestine, South Korea, Chile and South America. These include Polish Writer Olga Tokarczuk’s with Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead who was winner last year with her Bones of the Dead, both books translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones.
Also on the list is Samanta Schweblin whose Fever Dream made the short list last year and was one of my favourite reads of 2018. This year she is nominated for Mouthful of Birds, a wonderful, creepily mesmerising collection of short stories translated by Megan McDowell.
Bettany Hughes, chair of the panel of judges on announcing the long list said: “This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh. We’re thrilled to share 13 books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.”
The shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 April and the winner of the 2019 prize will be announced on 21 May. Author and translator share equally the main £50,000 prize.
Man Booker International prize 2019 longlist
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Oman), translated from Arabic by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press)
Love in the New Millennium by Can Xue (China), translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen (Yale University Press)
The Years by Annie Ernaux (France), translated by Alison Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (South Korea), translated by Sora Kim-Russell (Scribe)
Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf (Iceland and Palestine), translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Granta)
Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (France), translated from French by Sam Taylor (Granta)
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (Germany), translated by Jen Calleja (Serpent’s Tail)
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (Argentina and Italy), translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (Oneworld)
The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (Sweden), translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (Quercus)
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia), translated from Spanish by Anne McLean (MacLehose Press)
The Death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (Netherlands), translated by Sam Garrett (Scribe)
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile and Italy), translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes (And Other Stories)