Reclusive Italian writer Elena Ferrante and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk have been named on the six-strong Man Booker International Prize shortlist.
Three titles from independent publishers feature on the list: Ferrante’s The Story of The Lost Child, the final novel in her Neapolitan quartet, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa); Pamuk’s A Stranger in My Mind, translated from Turkish by Ekin Oklap (Faber); and Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith (Portobello).
Two books come from Penguin Random House: the Angolan writer Jose Eduardo Agualusa’s A General Theory of Oblivion, translated by Daniel Hahn (Harvill Secker); and Chinese writer Yan Lianke’s The Four Books, translated by Carlos Rojas (Chatto). Picador has the final title, Austrian writer Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life, translated by Charlotte Collins.
The Man Booker International Prize combined with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize last year, and as of this year, rewards a single book rather than the author’s oeuvre. The winning author and translator will split the £50,000 prize, which will be awarded on 16th May.
Boyd Tonkin, chair of the judging panel, commented: “This exhilarating shortlist will take readers both around the globe and to every frontier of fiction. In first-class translations that showcase that unique and precious art, these six books tell unforgettable stories from China and Angola, Austria and Turkey, Italy and South Korea. In setting, they range from a Mao-era re-education camp and a remote Alpine valley to the modern tumult and transformation of cities such as Naples and Istanbul. In form, the titles stretch from a delicate mosaic of linked lives in post-colonial Africa to a mesmerising fable of domestic abuse and revolt in booming east Asia. Our selection shows that the finest books in translation extend the boundaries not just of our world – but of the art of fiction itself. We hope that readers everywhere will share our pleasure and excitement in this shortlist.”