Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2010

The longlist for the 2010 Independent Foreign Ficton Prize has been announced, and it’s quite a small press friendly affair. As usual, titles under consideration were those translated works (from a living author) published in the prior year within the UK, and the prize money gets split equally between author and translator. Here’s the longlist:

The Coronation, Boris Akunin (Russian, trans: Andrew Bromfield) [Weidenfeld & Nicolson]

To Music, Ketil Bjørnstad (Norwegian, trans: Deborah Dawkin & Erik Skuggevik) [Maia Press]

The Madman of Freedom Square, Hassan Blasim (Arabic, trans: Jonathan Wright) [Comma Press]

Brodeck’s Report, Philippe Claudel (French, trans: John Cullen) [MacLehose Press]

The Blind Side Of The Heart, Julia Franck (German, trans: Anthea Bell) [Harvill Secker]

Fists, Pietro Grossi (Italian, trans: Howard Curtis) [Pushkin Press]

Yalo, Elias Khoury (Arabic, trans: Humphrey Davies) [MacLehose Press]

The Kindly Ones, Jonathan Littell (French, trans: Charlotte Mandell) [Chatto & Windus]

Broken Glass, Alain Mabanckou (French, trans: Helen Stevenson) [Serpent's Tail]

Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell, Javier Marías (Spanish, trans: Margaret Julla Costa) [Chatto & Windus]

The Housekeeper And The Professor, Yoko Ogawa (Japanese, trans: Stephen Snyder) [Harvill Secker]

Thursday Night Widows, Claudia Piñeiro (Spanish, trans: Miranda France) [Bitter Lemon Press]

Chowringhee, Sankar (Bengali, trans: Arunava Sinha) [Atlantic]

The Dark Side of Love, Rafik Schami (German, trans: Anthea Bell) [Arabia Books]

Sunset Oasis, Bahaa Taher (Arabic, trans: Humphrey Davies) [Sceptre]

The shortlist will be announced some time in April. I have a number of these books on my shelves and would like to think I can get around to reading a few of them but, given my prolongued reader’s block, I’m not holding out much hope.

March 13, 2010

13 responses to Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2010

  1. Stujallen said:

    i ve two of this list the kindly ones which i abandonned halfway through last year as just didn’t have time to commit to the book and broken glass which i ve got to read .have the first in the Javier Marias series to read ,also have another akunin murder on the levithan that i read but didnt really rate

  2. Stewart said:

    I’ve quite a number of them: certainly more than I don’t, if that makes sense. I dipped into the first story of The Madman of Freedom Square last night…and it was good. It was all down to the last paragraph.

  3. jem said:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention Stewart. I’d miss it every year if it wasn’t for you. It’s always a good way to grab a couple of titles a bit outside of what I usually read. I think I’ll go for the Claudel, as I loved his ‘Grey Souls’, and also the Ogawa which sounds my kind of thing. Sorry to hear about your reader’s block – I hate it when that happens – sometimes I get out of it by reading something different from my usual thing, sometimes that picks me up again.

  4. Stewart said:

    …sometimes I get out of [reader's block] by reading something different from my usual thing, sometimes that picks me up again.

    I’ve been reading everything but I rarely get more than a chapter or two in. Nothing has worked. It’s not just the reading, however, but outside influences are at work: university essays and the like, plus, at work, the year started busy and has yet to let up, so after both of those my head’s too frazzled to settle into a book for long enough, especially as I never know when the next window to read on will come.

    That said, I did manage to finish a book two days ago. I want to write it up, but it’s all about getting the time.

  5. Constantine said:

    “The Madman of Freedom Square” is absolutely brilliant, and wonderfully translated. Four of the stories are superbly read by Raad Rawi on the audiostory website, http://www.spokenink.co.uk

  6. Tom Cunliffe said:

    Broken Glass and The Kindly Ones are the only books in the list that I’ve read. And how utterly different they are – what a varied list it is

  7. I’m somewhat off topic here, Stewart, but you are my leading source on translated literature. Do you have an opinion on Sandor Marai? I see you have not reviewed him, but I’m guessing you know of him. He’s been recommended to me and I would appreciate any thoughts (when you have time — it isn’t like I need to start buying yet another author immediately). And I am sure that once you will be returning to reading in the near future — I went through a similar patch when “life” disruptions (a move and a cross-continent commute) left me out of touch with serious reading for a fairly long time. Look at it this way: this temporary disruption just means you are building up a reading backlist that you can turn to in the future.

  8. Shelley said:

    Stewart, if you finished a book two days ago, then that probably puts you ahead of many many people on this planet! Maybe you just need to go sit under a tree; sometimes the mind needs to run free in pasture.

  9. Stewart said:

    Do you have an opinion on Sandor Marai?

    Sorry, Kevin. Not much as I haven’t read him. Fictionwise we’ve seen four of his novels translated to English – Embers, Conversations In Bolzano, The Rebels, and Esther’s Inheritance) – and I believe there’s work afoot to bring more and more of his work over, so it must have some appeal to the English speakers. Embers appears in that 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die list, and the thread on World Literature Forum was pretty much positive overall (I say, having only skimmed it for fear of spoilers).

    For reviews of translated works I highly recommend M.A. Orthofer’s Complete Review site – a fantastic resource. (Index M is here). He has five Marai titles under review.

    On the topic of reading, I have managed a few books in the time but haven’t felt motivated to write about them, even though I want to. I’m hoping to find time this weekend just to sit down, turn off all the electrics, and just get through a book from start to finish. If I can achieve that, it’s a start.

  10. Thanks for the thoughts and the links. Good luck with your weekend project.

  11. Guy Savage said:

    I really, really liked Thursday Night Widows, so that means it probably won’t win.

    I read Embers, BTW, and wasn’t crazy about it–but I think it was more the novel’s themes than its style etc, so it comes down, for me, to a matter of personal taste.

  12. Stewart said:

    And so the list drops to six with the announcement of the shortlist:

    The Blind Side of the Heart, Julia Franck
    Brodeck’s Report, Philippe Claudel
    Broken Glass, Alain Mabanckou
    Chowringhee, Sankar
    The Dark Side of Love, Rafik Schami
    Fists, Pietro Grossi

  13. Shelley said:

    I’m just glad the men and women doing the translating are mentioned each time. So much depends on them.

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