Six books shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize

LONDON • Two past winners are among six authors whose books have made a shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize.

The award recognises literary works translated into English and published in Britain.

It is distinct from the Man Booker Prize, which is awarded to works originally published in English.

The honour comes with a cash prize of £50,000 (S$93,000), which is split equally between the author and the translators.

"This is a shortlist emblematic of the many adventures of fiction - its making and reading," Ms Lisa Appignanesi, chairman of this year's Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said.

"We have mesmeric meditations; raucous, sexy, state-of-the-nation stories; haunting sparseness and sprawling tales; enigmatic cabinets of curiosity and daring acts of imaginative projection - all this plus sparkling encounters with prose in translation."

  • This year's nominees

  • 1. Virginie Despentes' Vernon Subutex 1 (France) - about a down-and-out former music store owner in Paris

    2. Han Kang's The White Book (South Korea) - revolving around the death of the unnamed narrator's older sister

    3. Laszlo Krasznahorkai's The World Goes On (Hungary) - a collection of 21 stories

    4. Antonio Munoz Molina's Like A Fading Shadow (Spain) - about James Earl Ray, who assassinated American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr in 1968

    5. Ahmed Saadawi's Frankenstein In Baghdad (Iraq) - a re-imagining of Mary Shelley's monster tale set in the aftermath of the United States' invasion of Iraq

    6. Olga Tokarczuk's Flights (Poland) - a philosophical meditation on modern-day travel

Among the six authors, Han Kang won in 2016 for The Vegetarian, while Laszlo Krasznahorkai triumphed in 2015, before the prize's format was changed.

The Booker Prize Foundation changed the focus of the international award that year to recognise a single book of fiction translated into English and published in Britain.

Since 2005, the prize had been awarded to an author for an entire body of work. This year's list is also dominated by books from independent publishers. Last year's winner was Israeli author David Grossman for A Horse Walks Into A Bar, about a comedian's stand-up routine gone wrong.

The recipient of this year's award will be announced on May 22.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Six books shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize'. Print Edition | Subscribe