Longlist announced for Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013

A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard Black Bazaar by Alain Mabanckou Bundu by Chris Barnard Cold Sea Stories by Pawel Huelle Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas HHhH by laurent binet In Praise of Hatred by Khalid Khalifa The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker The Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman Trieste by Dasa Drndic Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai Silent House by Orhan Pamuk The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul

The 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist has been announced, revealing a globe-spanning selection of sixteen translated titles which will be vying for this year’s top prize of £10,000, which is uniquely shared equally between author and translator.

Heading the longlist this year, which features books translated from thirteen different languages, is Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk who is no stranger to the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Standing as the winner of the very first Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 1990, Mr. Pamuk has also been twice shortlisted for the prize. Joining him on this year’s longlist is Italian author Diego Marani, who was shortlisted last year with his novel New Finnish Grammar, Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou who was shortlisted in 2010 with Broken Glass, and Albanian poet and novelist Ismail Kadare who has found himself in previous years both longlisted and shortlisted for the UK’s only prize dedicated to translated fiction.

Among the writers making their debut appearance on the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist this year is esteemed Hungarian author Laszlo Krasznahorkai, the man dubbed by some as the Norwegian Proust, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Croatian novelist, Daša Drndic.

Short fiction also makes a rare appearance on this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist courtesy of Polish writer Pawel Huelle, and his Cold Sea Stories collection.

The 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist in full, is as follows (links lead to publisher product page for each book):

  • A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Harvill Secker); translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
  • Black Bazaar by Alain Mabanckou (Serpent’s Tail); translated from the French by Sarah Ardizonne.
  • Bundu by Chris Barnard (Alma Books); translated from the Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns.
  • Cold Sea Stories by Pawel Huelle (Comma Press); translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
  • Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas (Harvill Secker); translated from the Spanish by Rosalind Harvey and Anne McLean.
  • HHhH by Laurent Binet (Harvill Secker): translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
  • In Praise of Hatred by Khalid Khalifa (Transworld); translated from the Arabic by Leri Price.
  • The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker (Harvill Secker); translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.
  • The Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani (Dedalus); translated from the Italian by Judith Landry.
  • The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Bloomsbury); translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean.
  • Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman (Pushkin Press); translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia.
  • Trieste by Dasa Drndic (Maclehose Press); translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac.
  • Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai (Tuskar Rock); translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes.
  • Silent House by Orhan Pamuk (Faber & Faber); translated from the Turkish by Robert Finn.
  • The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare (Canongate); translated from the Albanian by John Hodgson.
  • The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul (Peirene Press); translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.

Funded by Arts Council England, and administrated by the Booktrust, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is presided over this year by a judging panel of five consisting of award-winning Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici, Professor of Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia, Jean Boase-Beier, Literary Editor of the Independent, Boyd Tonkin, and esteemed literary translator Frank Wynne,

Speaking of this year’s longlist, judge Mr. Tonkin had the following to say:

Once again, the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize showcases the very best in global fiction. It also honours the vital art of translation. These 16 titles, as diverse in mood and style as in setting and culture, deliver a feast of the imagination to our doorstep. From Nobel and Man Booker International laureates to youthful prodigies, the chosen authors offer something for every reader. So, bon appetit – or tuck in!

A shortlist of six books will be announced on Thursday 11 April with the overall winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013 being announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London, in May.

For further information – including details of all judges involved in this year’s Prize – please visit the Booktrust website. You can also follow related chatter on Twitter, using the #IFFP hashtag.


Rob’s Reaction: The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize never fails to get my tail wagging, but this year perhaps more than any other I’m as excited as I’ve ever been. Why? Well, because this year’s longlist is arguably the best ever. Not only is it diverse and wide-ranging – actually, nothing new there – but it also contains so many ‘big hitters’ that it’s going to be almost impossible picking out an overall winner. The IFFP this year is going to be tight and tense right up until the time when the winner is announced in May, and if that doesn’t get your juices flowing then I don’t know what will.

Aside from having two of my long term favourite writers on this year’s longlist (Alain Mabanckou and Ismail Kadare), there’s a return for Orhan Pamuk and Diego Marani who always do well in the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Then there are literary superstars Karl Ove Knausgaard and Laszlo Krasznahorkai, who are taking the translated fiction world by storm right now. I’m still buzzing having seen both of these authors at EdBookFest last year (in separate events. Together would have been more than my poor heart could take :)). They have a presence that’s as powerful as their fiction. They’re strong players, and aside from anything else I really want to see how these two play out against one another, not to mention the other fourteen longlisters.

Yep, it’s a truly remarkable IFFP longlist this year by all accounts and it’s bolstered greatly with the presence of Andrés Neuman, Laurent Binet and Gerbrand Bakker. I’m delighted too to see that a short story collection made the longlist in Pawel Huelle’s Cold Sea Stories. It’s great too to see Peirene Press make the longlist for a third year in a row, this time with Pia Juul and her The Murder of Halland. And what a joy to see Maclehose Press return to the longlist after being noticeable by their absence last year, with Dasa Drndic’s deserving Trieste. Make no mistake about it folks, this year’s longlist is straining at the seams with translated works of extraordinary prestige, and whatever happens it’s going to be one of the most hotly contested Independent Foreign Fiction Prizes ever.

So, on to my own plans for covering the Independent Foreign fiction Prize this year on RobAroundBooks. You may remember last year that I played a part in the IFFP Shadow Jury as organised by translated fiction guru Stu over at Winston’s Dad. Well, the jury is once again shadowing the prize and it’s an exciting time for all of them (seriously, you think I wag my tail hard then you should see this lot :)). However, despite having the honour of being asked to serve again I’ve decided that I’m not going to be a part of the IFFP shadow jury this year, mainly because I want to return to how I’ve promoted the prize in the past, focussing solely on the shortlist and working my way through it before the winner is announced.

If I’m being honest, trying to read the entire longlist in four short weeks before the shortlist is revealed is nigh on impossible for me. As good as the books may be it’s a strain and a stress trying to cram everything in, while also trying to enjoy the process. Personally I prefer the more manageable goal of concentrating on the shortlist. The experience is certainly a lot more enjoyable and I also feel that my coverage is a lot more considered and thoughtful as a result. True, I’m going to miss out on the wonderful experience that comes with discussing the books with fellow jury members but I’m more comfortable returning to the way I used to involve myself with the prize. Besides, I’m know many of you will chip in when I start posting about the shortlist, so there will still be plenty of IFFP banter for me to get involved in. I wish my former shadow judges all the very best of luck.

Anyway, I’m rambling as usual so I’ll leave you in peace. But before you go I’d really love to hear your own thoughts and feelings about this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist. Are you happy with the judges selections or are outraged that a particular favourite didn’t make the cut? Which of the sixteen do you think is going to emerge as the overall winner? Please let me know in the usual way by tip tapping your responses in the comments below.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I can’t say I’ve read many on the long list but am delighted to see a short story collection up there and this will be my first purchase. Looks like there will be a lot of excitement over this. Best, cat

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Tis a rare sight indeed Cat. Doubtful it’ll make it to the shortlist, but exciting nonetheless.

  2. stujallen (Twitter: stujallen)

    It is truly best list of recent years for me there are four there that could each win it they are so good ,As for ones I ‘m looking forward to reading Black Bazaar of the five I ve not read I love mix of magical realism and realism in his two other books I ve read ,all the best stu

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Hi Stu,
      Mabanckou never disappoints does he? Delighted to see him on the IFFP longlist, as always.

  3. Hi Rob,

    The only book on the list I’m familiar with is Pamuk’s Silent House, which I just started reading a week ago. I’ve read all of Pamuk’s books and have loved all of them, but I’m having a hard time making my way through this one (I’m 100 pages in and not yet hooked…). I’ve never read Mabanckou. Which of his books is the best/would you recommend?


    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you Michela. I admire your dedication with regards to Orhan Pamuk. I’ve only read two of his books and find him quite hard going. I also find that it takes a while to get into his book. Maybe this is the problem you’re having with Sulent House? 🙂

      As for which Mabanckou to start with? Well, you can’t really go wrong with any of them, but I’m particularly fond of Broken Glass. However, you may find Memoirs of a Porcupine more endearing.
      Apologies again for keeping you waiting. I hope you forgive me 🙂


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