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The Man Booker International Prize: Shortlist for 2019 announced

  • Published at 03:54 pm April 18th, 2019
Man international shortlist

Lit news

Shortlist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, the UK’s leading literary prize for outstanding works of translated fiction around the world, was announced on April 9, 2019. 

Unlike previous years, out of these six novels selected by the judging panel from a longlist of 13 books, five books are written by women, and more interestingly, all of them are translated by women.    

From 2016 onward, The Man Booker International Prize has been awarded for the best translated book originally written in a language other than English and published inthe UK. 

Five countries with their languages – Arabic, French, German, Polish and Spanish, and three continents are represented among the finalists. 

The wining title will be announced on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.  The £50,000 worth prize will be divided equally between the author and translator of the winning book. 


Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi 

Translated by Marilyn Booth from Arabic, and published by Sandstone Press Celestial Bodies tells the story of three sisters of the village of al-Awafi in Oman. With their lives’ multidimensional experiences – losses and loves, the evolution of Oman from a pre-colonial traditional slave-owning society to a modern one is showcased. 

The Years by Annie Ernaux

Alison Strayer translated this unusual autobiography from French, which is considered by the judges as “An elegant portrait of an age; a much-needed riposte to the ever-narrowing trajectory of auto-fiction.” It is “at once subjective and impersonal, private and collective.” In 2008, The Years won the Prix Renaudot in France. 


The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

Originally written in Garman, The Pine Islands is a tranquil, spirited and unpredictable story of two individuals, connected by fate, as pilgrims, who traced the footsteps of the great Japanese poet Matsuo Basho’s journey to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. The book was translated into English by Jen Calleja. 


Drive Your Plow Over the Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

The winner of 2018 prize for her novel Flights, Olga Tokarczuk, appears again with this book translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones from Polish. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead through a thought-provoking crime story revolving around the investigation of the deaths of the members of a local hunting club, has touched controversial themes like Catholicism and environmentalism in Poland.  


The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The only male author among the finalists, Juan Gabriel Vásquez in his The Shape of the Ruins has told a story – rooted in Colombian history that investigates political conspiracy. It is translated by Anne McLean from Spanish.  


The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán

The Remainder was translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes. With the story of three friends in Santiago, Chile, who attempts to leave the political shadow of their parents’, this fascinating debut presents a new way to count the cost of generational trauma experienced by Chile’s lost generation.