And the (Shadow) MBIP 2018 Winner Is…

It’s been ten weeks since the Man Booker International Prize longlist was announced, and in that time the Shadow Panel has been working away in the background, reading frantically while discussing the merits and flaws of the selected titles.  From the thirteen books we were given by the official judges, we chose a shortlist of six (only two of which made the official cut!), and off we set again, to reread as much as possible in the time we had.  Then we discussed the books a little more before voting for our favourites, culminating in the choice of our favourite work of translated fiction from the previous year’s crop.  And who might that be?



Congratulations to all involved!  While not a unanimous decision, Flights easily won the majority of votes from our judges.  In fact, in the seven years we’ve been shadowing the prizes (IFFP, then MBIP), this was the clearest winner by far, showing how impressed we were by Tokarczuk’s integration of seemingly disparate pieces into a mesmerising whole.  Thanks must also go to Croft for her excellent work on the book – as always, it’s only with the help of the translator that we’re able to read this book at all…

A special mention should also go to Fitzcarraldo Editions.  This is their second consecutive MBIP Shadow Prize (we selected Mathias Énard’s Compass as our winner for 2017), and having also come close with Énard’s Zone in 2015 (which wasn’t even selected for the official IFFP list that year!), they have proved to be one of the UK’s rising stars of fiction (and non-fiction) in translation.  We look forward to seeing whether they can continue to provide titles for the longlist in future years 🙂

And that’s it for 2018…

Firstly, I’d like to thank the rest of our Shadow Panel.  While David, Bellezza and Lori were around to help once more, it was a new-look team this year, with Paul, Vivek, Naomi, Oisin and Frances joining the crew. It’s been fascinating to compare our opinions about the books, even (or especially!) when we disagreed about them.  Here’s hoping that we can do it all again next year 🙂

I’d also like to give a shout-out to all the readers and commenters out there.  It’s heartening to have people appreciate our endeavours, and when people say that they’re following the prize vicariously through our reviews and comments, even if they don’t have time to read all the books themselves, it makes us feel as if the whole process is worth it.

Finally, I’d like to thank the official judges for taking the time to read an awful lot of books in order to select the cream of the crop (although occasionally there’s a suspicion that the milk has gone rather sour…).  We hope that their final choice (to be announced about twenty-four hours after ours) is a worthy winner to round off this year’s prize.  Who will it be?  Come back soon to find out…

12 thoughts on “And the (Shadow) MBIP 2018 Winner Is…

    1. Bellezza – I’m actually quietly confident that they’ll agree with us this year…

      …but then I think that every year 😉


  1. Flights is my pick too! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this prize and will do it again next year. If only the books were easier to get in Canada. Thanks for all the reviews, I always enjoy hearing what you have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura – You’re welcome 🙂 I have to say that I’ve been lucky enough to get some as review copies and most of the others from my excellent library – I’m not sure I’d be able to afford the whole list…


  2. I so agree! Just uploaded my personal wrap up, and Flights takes it. I would also be pleased to see Frankenstein in Baghdad win. Still mad The Stolen Bicycle didn’t get shortlisted. But oh well. I had a lot of fun, thank you for your diligent coverage of this prize!

    PS if you know what time it’s being announced, would you let me know? Can’t find the time online…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura – Not really sure at the moment, but I’d expect it to be around 8-9 p.m. London time on Tuesday (the middle of the night for me!).


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