Works by writers from South Korea, Poland, Hungary, France, Spain and Iraq have been shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.
Since 2016 this prize has been presented annually for a single work of fiction – either a novel or a collection of short stories – translated into English and published in the United Kingdom. It is not to be confused with the Man Booker prize, which is for fiction written in English and published in the UK.
The £50 000 prize (around R850 000) for the international prize is divided equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator receives £1 000.
This year’s shortlisted novels are:
- Vernon Subutex 1 by French writer Virginie Despentes (MacLehose Press);
- The White Book by South Korean writer Han Kang (Portobellow Books);
- The World Goes On by Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai (Tuskar Rock Press);
- Like a Fading Shadow by Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina (Tuskar Rock Press);
- Frankenstein in Baghdad by Iraqi writer Ahmed Saadawi (Oneworld); and
- Flights by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk (Fitzcarraldo Editions.
The panel of five judges, chaired by Liza Appignanesi, say the settings range from the rock music scene in Paris, to the streets of Baghdad where a monster roams wild, to James Earl Ray’s short stay in Lisbon fleeing law enforcement. Two novels span the globe, one charting Chopin’s heart making a covert voyage from Paris to Warsaw, and one featuring men on the edge of despair in Kiev, Varanasi and Shanghai. One novel is a meditation on the colour white and an investigation of mourning and rebirth.
Appignanesi said: “This is a shortlist emblematic of the many adventures of fiction – its making and reading. 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.
The winner will be announced on May 22. Last year’s winning book was A Horse Walks into a Bar by Israeli writer David Grossman. – Vivien Horler