The longlist for the International Booker Prize, an award for the best translated work of fiction, has been announced, and includes books from 11 languages and 12 countries. The prize offers £50,000, split evenly between author and translator. The shortlist will be announced on April 22, with the winner announced on June 2.
This is the first time a book translated from an indigenous African language—Gikuyu, from Kenya—has been longlisted. The same book, The Perfect Nine: The Epic Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, is also the first book tapped for the prize that was written and translated by the same person. Among other languages, Spanish is represented twice; among U.S. publishers, New Directions Publishing had the most longlisted books, publishing four.
In announcing the longlist, the chair of the judges, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, said that 125 books were submitted for the prize this year. She noted several themes, including “migration, the pain of it, but also the fruitful interconnectedness of the modern world."
The 2021 International Booker Prize longlist is as follows:
- I Live in the Slums by Can Xue, translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping (Yale UP)
- At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Moschovakis (FSG)
- The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press)
- The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (Hogarth)
- When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West (NYRB)
- The Perfect Nine: The Epic Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, translated from Gikuyu by the author, (New Press)
- The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken (New Directions)
- Summer Brother by Jaap Robben, translated from Dutch by David Doherty (World Editions)
- An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated from German by Jackie Smith (New Directions)
- Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (New Directions)
- In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (New Directions)
- Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý, translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley (And Other Stories)
- The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard, translated from French by Mark Polizzotti (Other Press)