Thursday, March 8, 2012
The independent Foreign Fiction Prize (#iffp)
This Prize honours the best work of fiction by a living author, that has been translated into English from any other language and published in the UK. Uniquely, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize gives both the winning author and the translator equal status, with each receiving £5,000. The prize was inaugurated by British newspaper The Independent with the first award going to the writer Orhan Pamuk and translator Victoria Holbrook for The White Castle (1990), the prize ran until 1995 before falling into abeyance. The prize was revived at the start of the new century (2000) with the support of Arts Council England, who continue to fund the award. Beginning in 2011 the administration of the prize was taken over by Booktrust, yet retains the "Independent" in it’s title, the 2011 prize was won by Santiago Rongagliolo and translator Edith Grossman for Red April.
The judges for this year's Prize are:
Freelance critic, feature writer and broadcaster Hephzibah Anderson
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival
Jon Cook, Professor of Literature and Director of the Centre for Creative and Performing Arts at the University of East Anglia, and Chair of Arts Council England, East
Novelist, short story writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo
Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of the Independent
Stu from Winston’s dad has set up a shadow Jury that will post on books featured on the long list and eventually the shortlist, the jurors are Mark, Lisa, Rob, Simon, Kinna, Stu, Tony and myself. The group’s aim is to post on all the books on the list in tandem with the official jury, following the same idea as Nick Barley & play our “part in helping them bring unique stories from other languages to a wider English-speaking audience.”
This Years Long list is
1Q84 Books 1 and 2 Haruki Murakami Jay Rubin Harvill Secker Japanese
The events of 1Q84 take place in Tokyo during a fictionalized 1984, with the first volume set between April and June, the second between July and September, and the third between October and December.
“Fantastical elements woven into an otherwise realistic narrative. The Leader levitates a clock; Tamaru can enter a locked apartment without a key, telepathy unites Tengo and Aomame, and there is a whole complicated mythology lying behind the activities of the Sakigake cult.” – Lisa
Alice Judith Hermann Margot Bettauer Dembo The Clerkenwell Press German
When someone very close to you dies your whole life changes. Everything is different. Alice is the central figure in these five inter-connected narratives, which tell of her life at times of loss.
Blooms of Darkness Aharon Appelfeld Jeffrey M. Green Alma Books Hebrew
The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him.
Dream of Ding Village Yan Lianke Cindy Carter Constable and Robinson Chinese
Set in a poor village in Henan province, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written account of a blood-selling scandal in contemporary China.
“So Dream of Ding Village is not just about the impact of HIV/AIDS, but more broadly about how rapid development in China is subverting traditional values to create a society based on the profit motive. “ –Lisa
“One of China's most pre-eminent and controversial novelists, tackles the harrowing topic of AIDS in his country's impoverished rural regions Longlisted for the 2011 MAN Asian Literary Prize,” -Mark
From the Mouth of the Whale Sjón Victoria Cribb Telegram Books Icelandic
Jonas Palmason, a poet and self-taught healer, has been condemned to exile for heretical conduct, having fallen foul of the local magistrate. Banished to a barren island, I’m reading this at the moment & loving the dark hallucinatory prose.
Hate: A Romance Tristan Garcia Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein Faber & Faber French
In a controversial first novel that took the French literary world by storm and won the Prix de Flore, Tristan Garcia uses sex, friendships, and love affairs to show what happens to people when political ideals come to an end.
New Finnish Grammar Diego Marani Judith Landry Dedalus Italian
One night at Trieste in September 1943, a seriously wounded soldier is found on the quay. The doctor, of a newly arrived German hospital ship, Pietri Friari, gives the unconscious soldier medical assistance. His new patient has no documents or anything that can identifying him.
“Now on the surface this book can be compared to Ondaatje’s English patient as the kernel that the story is from is similar a man is found in this case on a beach in Italy his personnel effects leads to the belief he is Finnish ,although he can’t talk and has had some horrific injuries” – Stu
Next World Novella Matthias Politycki Anthea Bell Peirene Press German
“This novella deals with the weighty subjects of marriage and death, in an impressively light manner. Shifting realities evolve with a beautiful sense of irony and wit. It is a tone that allows us to reflect –without judgment – on misunderstandings, contradictory perceptions and the transience of life.” Meike Ziervogel
A professor wakes to find his wife has died of a stroke in the evening and he takes in the shock of the situation reading through the last notes that she was editing. As she usually edited his reports it is his material she was found slumped over. – Simon
Parrallel Stories Peter Nadas Imre Goldstein Jonathan Cape Hungarian
In 1989, the year the Wall came down, a university student in Berlin on his morning run finds a corpse lying on a park bench & alerts the authorities. This classic police-procedural scene opens an extraordinary novel, a masterwork that traces the fate of myriad Europeans across the treacherous years of the mid-twentieth century
“This is a post modern book and like a classic post modern art the rule book of writing has been thrown out ,we drift from crime ,through highly erotic prose and into political drama” – Stu
Please Look After Mother Kyung-sook Shin Chi-Young Kim Weidenfeld & Nicolson Korean
Please Look After Mom is the story of a missing mother and her family, told from the shifting points of view of each of the family members. The novel tracks down the mother’s life of self-sacrifice, which coincided with Korea’s dramatic shift from a pre-modern to post-modern society
“Please Look After Mother' centres on the aftermath of the disappearance of So-nyo, an ailing wife and mother, who is separated from her husband in a Seoul subway station during a rare visit to the capital from her home in the countryside.” – Mark
“Hmm, perhaps I should have guessed that an ‘international best-seller’ with a million sales in Korea alone would be a disappointment…” – Lisa
“If you want a heart-warming story of family and what parents mean this is the book to read .I must admit I now can see why a million Koreans brought it .” – Stu
Professor Andersen's Night Dag Solstad Agnes Scott Langeland Harvill Secker Norwegian
Christmas Eve, and 55-year-old Professor Pål Andersen is alone, drinking coffee and cognac in his living room. Lost in thought, he looks out of the window and sees a man strangle a woman in the apartment across the street. This is an existential murder story.
Scenes From Village Life Amos Oz Nicholas De Lange Chatto & Windus Hebrew
A surreal and unsettling portrait of a village in Israel. A picture of the community takes shape across seven stories, in which a group of characters appear and return. Each villager is searching for something, yet in this almost dreamlike world nothing is certain, nothing is resolved
'Scenes From Village Life' is a strange book in every respect, oozing general unease, sprinkled with imponderables and actions devoid of answers.” - Mark
Seven Houses in France Bernardo Atxaga Margaret Jull Costa Harvill Secker Spanish
`a dark comedy about the vanity of human desires which deftly balances compassion and cynicism' ----Adrian Turpin, Financial Times. “This book will be compared to Conrad’s heart of darkness and it has a lot in common with that book”-Stu
The Emperor of Lies Steve Sem-Sandberg Sarah Death Faber & Faber Swedish
“This extraordinary work of fiction is a historical novel in a deeper than the usual sense, since the author concedes that truth rather than fiction supplies the crucial detail that directs our moral vision . . . Sem-Sandberg’s success lies in the way he conveys the moral tragedy not in retrospect but in its duration.” -Timothy Snyder, The Times Literary Supplement
The Prague Cemetery Umberto Eco Richard Dixon Harvill Secker Italian
19th-century Europe—from Turin to Prague to Paris—abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night
BookTrust ANZ LitLovers LitBlog RobAroundBooks Inside Books Winstonsdad’s Blog
ELEUTHEROPHOBIA Kinna Reads
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Looking forward to our views on the books and highlighting literature in translation and seeing how the prize process works all the best stu
Looking forward to following this, Parrish.
Hi Stu, will be interesting to compare views & then finally results.
Hi Rachel, thanks.
A very interesting and ambitious project. Best of luck and I will enjoy following it.
Great idea, a shadow jury! Good luck with the difficult decision on who the eventual winner will be.
I haven't read any of these books - yet!
Good luck :)
I'm hoping to get through a pile of these too ;)
Very cool. Looking forward to following along!
I've not yet read any of these books and cannot even guess. But I believe this is one a good prize. It is a pity that literary prizes are hardly ever looked at so that a 10,000 Pound yearly prize is difficult to maintain. Yet, millions go waste.
Thanks Mel, hopefully the ambition will be realised.
Hi Judith,at the moment I've read 2 (From the mouth of a whale & 1q84), next on my agenda is New Finnish Grammar
Thanks Tony & welcome on board.
Thanks Gina, hope I can keep it interesting.
Hi Nana, Yes Would agree with you, also this is great for acknowledging the translator as well as the writer.
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