‘Anonymous’ author on international Man Booker longlist

The 13 longlisted books

A best-selling author who writes under a pseudonym has been longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

Italian Elena Ferrante is nominated for The Story of the Lost Child, the last of her “Neapolitan” series of novels.

Among the other 12 authors on the longlist is Orhan Pamuk – who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

A shortlist of six books will be unveiled on 14 April, with each nominated author and translator receiving £1,000.

The winning book will then receive a £50,000 prize – divided equally between the author and the book’s translator.

The winner will be announced on 16 May at a formal dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Ferrante’s biography in the longlist announcement reads: “Elena Ferrante was born in Naples. This is all we know about her… [she] has stayed resolutely out of public view.”

The author has previously stated her belief that “books, once they are written, have no need of their authors”.

Her anonymity has not stopped her from gaining high profile fans such as Zadie Smith and Alice Sebold.

Ferrante’s debut novel Troubling Love was published in 1991, but it is her “Neopolitan” series of four books – The Story of The Lost Child being the final instalment – that has been her biggest success.

Her work has been published in 39 countries, and she has sold almost two million copies worldwide.
Other nominated books include A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa, which tells the story of a woman who bricks herself into her apartment on the eve of Angolan independence and stays there for 28 years, until the civil war is over.

Also longlisted is White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen, which tells the story of a farmer’s wife from the north of Finland who sets off on foot through the snow with her two young children during 1867 – a year of devastating famine in the country.

Kenzaburo Oe from Japan, another previous winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, also makes the list.

Chinese author Yan Lianke is longlisted for his novel The Four Books, which was rejected by 20 publishers for its political content before being banned in mainland China when it was finally released.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante cover
Image captionThe Story of the Lost Child is the fourth novel in Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan series

This is the first longlist ever to have been announced for the Man Booker International Prize, which has joined forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and will now be awarded annually on the basis of a single book.

Previously, the Man Booker International was awarded every second year to an author for their entire body of work.

Boyd Tonkin, who chairs the judging panel, said: “Our selection highlights the sheer diversity of great fiction today.”

This year’s longlist consists of 13 books from 12 countries, written in nine different languages.

Tonkin described the longlisted books, which were chosen from 155 books that were considered, as “the finest fiction in translation”.

You can see the full longlisted on the Man Booker International Prize’s official website.