Muscat: Omani author Jokha Al Harthi is among the six writers shortlisted for the prestigious 2019 Man Booker International Prize.
With the winner of the prize scheduled to be announced on May 21, the Man Booker International Prize features six foreign-language titles translated into English. The announcement was made on Tuesday.
Jokha Al Harthi’s book Celestial Bodies, which is translated into English by Marilyn Booth and published by Sandstone Press, is the only Arabic language publication on the shortlist.
Bettany Hughes, chair of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said: “Wisdom in all its forms is here. Unexpected and unpredictable narratives compelled us to choose this vigorous shortlist. Subversive and intellectually ambitious with welcome flashes of wit, each book nourishes creative conversation. We were struck by the lucidity and supple strength of all the translations.”
The other five books are The Years by French author Annie Ernaux, which was translated by Alison Strayer, German author Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands, translated by Jen Calleja, Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of The Dead, which has been translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
There are two Spanish-language books, one being by Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vasquez, called The Shape of the Ruins, translated by Anne McLean, and Chilean writer Alia Trabucco Zeran’s The Remainder, which was translated by Sophie Hughes.
A statement from the Man Booker Prize organisation said, “The Man Booker International Prize has this evening, Tuesday 9 April, revealed the shortlist of the six books in contention for the 2019 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world. The £50,000 prize for the winning book will be divided equally between its author and translator. The announcement was made at an event at Somerset House.”
“The shortlist is absolutely brilliant, diverse, intellectually and morally extremely ambitious,” said Pankaj Mishra, one of the judges, as Maureen Freely, another judge, added, “All six books open up new spaces for conversation between literatures and readers all over the world.”
Bettany Hughes said: “This is a prize that is for both the books themselves and for the translations and translators, and what an extraordinary skill to be able to deliver the fluidity, the kind of captivating charisma of words through translation,” with Elnathan John saying it was about “how they were able to transport feelings, emotions, but also large histories, large relationships, other complete universes, into a language like English.”
Professor Angie Hobbs, FRSA, added, “I think choosing a winter is going to be really hard. We have six very strong books here, and there’s going to be very detailed and interesting discussions, and I am really looking forward to these discussions.”