Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Shortlist Announced for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008

Arts Council England today announced the shortlist for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008, in association with Champagne Taittinger.

Six contenders from over 90 entries have been shortlisted for the prize, worth £10,000. They are:
o Castorp by Pawel Huelle, translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones from the Polish, published by Serpent’s Tail
o Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Carol Brown Janeway from the German, published by Quercus
o Gregorius by Bengt Ohlsson, translated by Silvester Mazzarella from the Swedish, published by Portobello Books
o The Model by Lars Saabye Christensen, translated by Don Barlett from the Norwegian, published by Arcadia Books
o The Way of the Women by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Michiel Heyns from the Afrikaans, published by Little, Brown
o Omega Minor by Paul Verhaeghen, translated by Paul Verhaeghen from the Dutch, published by Dalkey Archive Press

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from another language and published in the United Kingdom in the last year.

This year’s shortlist sees a strong show of European authors alongside South African author Marlene van Niekerk. The eclectic themes encompassed in the shortlist includes: a witty foray into the minds of two intellectual giants; the sinister story of an uninspired artist who discovers his sight is failing; a first world war ‘prequel’ to Mann’s The Magic Mountain; a tale of post-Apartheid South Africa told through folklore, diary entries and songs; an epic story of 20th century history spanning Einstein’s lost theorem and the Nazi legacy; and a fictional act of redemption for an archetypal villain of Swedish literature.

Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature Strategy, Arts Council England said:
“The judges had a hard task getting down to the final six, but have chosen a shortlist of very accomplished books that demonstrate a huge variety of ideas, stories and adventurous writing from around the world.

“The authors’ ability to introduce readers to the rich diversity of life illustrates why making international writing in translation available to everyone is so important.”

Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of The Independent said:

"This is a shortlist of tremendous breadth and depth. It offers excellence and excitement across many kinds of fiction, from period comedy and psychological drama to historical epic. The range and quality of these books is a tribute, not only to the talent of their authors, but to the skill and commitment of the translators and publishers who help to bring the best of the world's fiction to readers in the UK."

--- Gotta love the sponsor. Literature should sparkle, right? I guess we now know what will be drunk at the award ceremony; the suspense is in WHO will be drunk.

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