Thursday, April 12, 2012

Official Shortlist for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize


The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize honours both writer and translator of the best work of fiction, translated & published in the UK. Making this award unique by placing the writer & translator on an equal footing & by doing so recognises the translator's role in bridging the gap between languages and culture. The official jury have been deliberating on the longlist and as  Hephzibah Anderson (freelance critic, broadcaster & IFFP Judge stated “The judging process so far has been an epic and exhilarating road trip - a journey crossing centuries and genres as well as continents”. After their  cogitation,ruminations & deliberations they whittled it down to
Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld (Jeffrey M. Green)Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist Announced
What the judges said: “Jeffrey M Green's incantatory translation from the Hebrew does ample justice to a novel that meditates on the imagination, memory and language itself.”
Us: MarkSimonStu, Tony
The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (Richard Dixon)
  What the judges said: “Eco shows us that the Holocaust was a catastrophe that was a long time in the making. Entertaining and disturbing in equal measure, The Prague Cemetery is Eco's best novel since The Name of the Rose.”
Us: Tony,   MarkStu  Lisa

Alice by Judith Hermann (Margaret Bettauer Dembo)
What the judges said:These five linked stories all unfold in the shadow of death. Yet, with their pin-sharp precision and lyrical tenderness, they make you feel thrillingly alive. Exquisitely written, gracefully translated”
Us: LisaStuMark  Tony

New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani (Judith Landry)
 What the judges said: “This subtle and moving novel shows how much of what we take to be ourselves depends upon the language that we speak and the identity it gives us. It also shows how suddenly that self can be taken away.”
Us: StuMark, Me

From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (Victoria Cribb)
What the judges said: By turns surprising and surreal. Sjón's remarkable tale imagines a delirious 17th century Iceland swithering between mysticism and a new scientific rationalism and it is rendered brilliantly into English in Victoria Cribb's exuberant translation.”
Us: LisaTonyStu,   MarkMe

Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke (Cindy Carter)
What the judges said: “A brave, dark and poetic account of modern Chinese malaise. Through his description of the many lives touched by an AIDS epidemic sweeping a village,”
Us: MarkTonyLisaStu
“Themes of loss and persecution pervade global shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012. Umberto Eco's latest masterpiece, a novel banned in China charting the devastating human cost of the blood trade, and a Holocaust survivor's haunting tale all in the running to win the £10,000 Prize
Translated fiction by two Italian authors, one German, one Israeli, one Icelandic and one Chinese have made it on to this year's shortlist. The diverse shortlisted books, five of which are published by independent publishing houses, explore the human and cultural impact of loss and persecution in different countries across the ages.”

Whilst the Official Jury were in deep thought, the members of the shadow Jury (Stu, Mark, Lisa, Rob,Simon, Tony & myself) were also straining our collective brain matter and via posts, comments, tweets & emails cobbled together our own results.
Shadow Panel Shortlist for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

IFFP shadow - Copy1
       Seven Houses in France by Bernardo Atxaga ( Margaret Jull Costa)
StuMark, Lisa,  Me

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (Richard Dixon)
Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas (Imre Goldstein)

Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz (Nicholas de Lange)
RobMark, Lisa,  TonyStu   Me

Next World Novella by Matthias Politycki (Anthea Bell)
SimonLisaStuTony   

From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón (Victoria Cribb)
LisaTonyStuMarkMe

The Shadow Jury Blurb (Courtesy of  Rob)
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.

Although I am confused on what the official judging criteria was and  why certain books have made the list and others haven’t,  my overall response to what for me was a new experience is one of joy, for the introduction to new writers, for the conversations, remarks and responses from old & new friends. So a big thanks to Stu & the rest of the Shadow crew for the first part of this journey  & to Nikesh Shukla from the Booktrust for their support.

8 comments:

gina @letterandline said...

You all deserve a HUGE round of applause. I see Stu was the only one to tackle Nadas. What a daunting task.

I happened upon Nikesh Shukla's podcast a few weeks ago. Solid!

Tony said...

Just to clarify Gina - I've also finished 'Parallel Stories' (review on the production line as we speak), and poor Mark is manfully ploughing through it at the moment too. I'm not sure how many more of the intrepid crew will have a go at it though ;)

Parrish Lantern said...

Hi Gina, thanks, I Considered Nadas's book, but after ploughing through 1q84 I didn't fancy another long book & decided if it made the cut I would then reappraise my decision, still am interested in it, but luckily for me, in relation to the iffp it's been covered & I will add the posts from those that have read when I'm aware of them.

Hi Tony thanks for commenting & will probably get round to it at some point but probably for my own interest.

bermudaonion said...

Not only have I not read any of these books, I've never heard of them. I love the idea of this literary prize!

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

You're doing great. This is fantastic. I see 1Q84 was not shortlisted.

Parrish Lantern said...

Hi bermudaonion, there are some really wonderful books worth exploring here, I agree with your comment on the prize & this one in particular as it shared between writer & translator.

Hi Nana, thanks as to 1q84 no it's not here, but only because there's better stuff on the list & I say that as a Murakami fan.

Shelleyrae said...

Sounds like some really interesting titles. I love the idea of a shadow jury - clever!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

Parrish Lantern said...

Thanks Shelleyrae, was another s idea I was supporting cast but a passionate one.