If you’ve been following my activities over the past month or so (both here, and on Twitter), then you’ll know that I’ve been busying myself with serving on a ‘shadow jury’ for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The brain child of translated fiction aficionado Stu from the Winstonsdad blog, we, the shadow jury – comprised of Stu, Simon of Inside Books, Gary of The Parrish Lantern, Mark of Eleutherophobia, Lisa of ANZ Litlovers, Tony of Tony’s Reading List, and myself – have been reading between us this year’s official longlist, with a view of selecting our own shortlist and eventual winner.
After much deliberation we’ve come up with our ‘shadow’ shortlist and with the announcement of the official shortlist being made made tomorrow, it’s time to reveal that shortlist, which is as follows:
- From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (Telegram Books); translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
- Parallel Stories by Peter Nadas (Jonathan Cape); translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein
- Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz (Chatto & Windus); translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas De Lange
- Seven Houses in France by Bernardo Atxaga (Harvill Secker); translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
- Next World Novella by Matthias Politycki (Peirene Press); translated from the German by Anthea Bell
- The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (Harvill Secker); translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon
Speaking after selection, shadow judge Rob (that’s me :)), had the following to say:
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist this year has once again shown us just how powerful and emotive translated fiction can be. The overall tone of this year’s Prize has been a dark and sombre one, with many of titles taking us back to reflect on the horrors of the past. As such the reading experience has been wholly affecting, and it has proven to be no easy task in reducing the longlist down to a final selection of six.
Encapsulated in our final ‘shadow’ shortlist selection is what we feel to be the ‘cream of the crop’ of this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. These are the six titles which not only fully demonstrate the range and scope of this year’s Prize, but they also stand as a glowing example of what can be achieved when writer and translator form the perfect bond.
If you would like to read the jury’s reviews on the individual titles they read, then I urge you to visit fellow shadow judge Mark’s website, where he has a handy round-up page (if you’re looking for my IFFP-related reviews, I’m a little behind on posting them, so the only one I can point you to at the time of writing is for my review of Amos Oz’s Scenes From Village Life).
The next job for the ‘shadow’ jury is two-fold. We have to decide on our own overall ‘shadow’ winner, while discussing who we think is most deserving of the official Prize. The shortlist for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, is, as I said, announced tomorrow (Thursday 12th), so make sure you pop on over to RobAroundBooks tomorrow, or more preferably to the Booktrust website, as they’re the official caretakers of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.