The longlist features work from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the oldest writer ever to be nominated and three writers who appear in English for the first time
Read more about the longlist here
The International Booker Prize 2023 longlist has been announced!
The 2023 judges are looking for the best work of international fiction translated into English, selected from entries published in the UK or Ireland between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. The 13 books on the longlist are listed below, along with our judges’ comments about each title. Click on the links to find out more.
Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches
‘Boulder is a sensuous, sexy, intense book. Eva Baltasar condenses the sensations and experiences of a dozen more ordinary novels into just over one hundred pages of exhilarating prose. An incisive story of queer love and motherhood that slices open the dilemmas of exchanging independence for intimacy.’
Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan, translated by Chi-Young Kim
‘Whale is a riot of a book – a carnivalesque fairytale that celebrates independence and enterprise, and a picaresque quest through Korea’s landscapes and history. Cheon Myeong-Kwan’s vivid characters are foolish but wise, awful but endearing, and always irrepressible.’
The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated by Richard Philcox
‘Maryse Condé is one of the greatest Francophone authors and the great voice of the Caribbean. In this book she proves again what a fantastic and gifted storyteller she is. The narration is lively and fluid, and we feel carried away by this story as we do by the fables of our childhood.’
Standing Heavy by GauZ’, translated by Frank Wynne
‘A sharp and satirical take on the legacies of French colonial history and life in Paris today. Told in a fast-paced style of shifting perspectives, Standing Heavy carries us through the decades to deliver a fresh perspective on France that is critical, funny and human.’
Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel
‘A wide-ranging, thought-provoking, macabre and humorous novel about nationality, identity and ageing, and about the healing and destructive power of memory. It asks the question: what is our place in 20th century history, when that history seems to be constantly shifting?’
Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund
‘This novel provides a very fine and cruel understanding of family relationships: the violence of the mother-daughter dynamic; the impossibility of getting to know each other within the same family; family life as a prison of secrets and silence.’
Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Rueben Woolley
‘The escapades of Kurkov’s loveable eccentrics provide a frame for an intriguing portrait of Lviv in the 2000s, a melancholy borderland city that finds itself recalling a troubled past as it sits on the cusp of an uncertain future.’
The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier, translated by Daniel Levin Becker
‘This impressive and fascinating book reconciles two primal feelings: empathy and dread. It is a very scary book, rooted in the traditions of horror. The writing is formidable. The slow rhythm of the sentences creates tension as much as the situation itself.’
While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer, translated by Katy Derbyshire
‘As walls fall and political systems collapse, a group of youngsters in Leipzig are pitched into a world of partying, violence, drugs and techno music. While We Were Dreaming skillfully captures the sense of what happens when the certainties of the grown-up world evaporate and the future is up for grabs.’
Pyre by Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
‘An intercaste couple elopes, setting in motion a story of terrifying foreboding. Perumal Murugan is a great anatomist of power and, in particular, of the deep, deforming rot of caste hatred and violence. With flashes of fable, his novel tells a story specific and universal: how flammable are fear and the distrust of others.’
Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey
‘Two best friends share an aversion to “the human shackles” of motherhood, only to discover that life has other plans. With a twisty, enveloping plot, the novel poses some of the knottiest questions about freedom, disability, and dependence – all in language so blunt it burns.’
A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson, translated by Nichola Smalley
‘When a set of adult triplets learn that one of them might have been switched in the hospital after their birth, each of them become convinced that they are the changeling. Amanda Svensson’s raucous, sprawling debut takes on the enigmas of our origins, riddles of human consciousness, and the most bedeviling of mysteries – the minds and choices of our closest intimates.’
Ninth Building by Zou Jingzhi, translated by Jeremy Tiang
‘A kaleidoscopic and understated collection of interlocking tales of life in an apartment building under the Cultural Revolution – the daily tedium of its inhabitants, lit by brief and tenuous moments of shared humanity.’
13 things to know about the longlist
The International Booker Prize 2023 judges, left to right: Parul Sehgal, Frederick Studemann, Uilleam Blacker, Leïla Slimani and Tan Twan Eng
‘The list is a celebration of the power of language’
The panel of judges is chaired by the prize-winning French-Moroccan novelist, Leïla Slimani, who says:
‘Through literature we experience the fact that we are, at the end of the day, just human beings. We cry the same. We are moved by the same things. We are all afraid, we all fall in love and we have the same emotions. And this is the point of translation, that all over the world we can understand an emotion.
‘What was very rewarding about this experience was reading books from all over the world, with an extraordinary variety of form and content. Each of the judges had different tastes and that is what we have tried to reflect in this list. It celebrates the variety and diversity of literary production today, the different ways in which the novel can be viewed. We wanted to give the reader the chance to discover this and to find something that will move or disturb them.
‘The list is also a celebration of the power of language and of authors who wanted to push formal enquiry as far as possible. We wanted to celebrate literary ambition, panache, originality and of course, through this, the talent of translators who have been able to convey all of this with great skill.’
Fiammetta Rocco, the Administrator of the International Booker Prize, adds:
‘To read a book translated from another language is to embark on a global adventure. The judges looked closely not just at what the writers and their translators were telling us about the world we live in, but also at how they told us. The panel talked about ideas and emotion in fiction, about form, structure, originality, poetry, ethics, character and the importance of humour. The longlist for the International Booker Prize 2023 leaps from Mexico to Sweden, from Norway to South Korea, from China to Guadeloupe, from Côte d’Ivoire to Ukraine. Through fable and myth, stories and sagas, it proves that reading has no borders.’
The judging panel also includes Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukrainian; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at the New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, Literary Editor of the Financial Times.
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday, April 18. The winning title will be announced at a ceremony at the Sky Garden in London on May 23, 2023.
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