The 2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist!

The wait seems to get longer every year (although that might just be me becoming ever more impatient…), but the day has finally come around, one of those public holidays for fans of fiction in translation: yes the 2019 Man Booker International Prize longlist is finally here!  I’ve been in preparation mode for over a month now, having knocked up a post with a large number of potential contenders and set to work building a new team of Shadow Judges to read, review and rate the books the official judges have seen fit to select.  But enough of all that.  What exactly will we all be obsessing over for the next couple of months?  Which books have been selected as the best of the year, the cream of the most recent fiction in translation crop?   Thanks for asking – this way, if you please 😉


Jokha Alharthi (Oman) & Marilyn Booth
– Celestial Bodies (Sandstone Press)

Can Xue (China) & Annelise Finegan Wasmoen
– Love in the New Millennium (Yale University Press)

Annie Ernaux (France) & Alison Strayer
– The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Hwang Sok-yong (South Korea) & Sora Kim-Russell
– At Dusk (Scribe Publications)

Mazen Maarouf (Iceland/Palestine) & Jonathan Wright
– Jokes for the Gunmen (Granta Books)

Hubert Mingarelli (France) & Sam Taylor
– Four Soldiers (Granta Books)

Marion Poschmann (Germany) & Jen Calleja
– The Pine Islands (Serpent’s Tail)

Samanta Schweblin (Argentina) & Megan McDowell
– Mouthful of Birds (Oneworld Publications)

Sara Stridsberg (Sweden) & Deborah Bragan-Turner
The Faculty of Dreams (Quercus Books)

Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) & Antonia Lloyd-Jones
– Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia) & Anne McLean
– The Shape of the Ruins (MacLehose Press)

Tommy Wieringa (Netherlands) & Sam Garrett
– The Death of Murat Idrissi (Scribe Publications)

Alia Trabucco Zerán (Chile/Italy) & Sophie Hughes
– The Remainder (And Other Stories)

Well, is that what you were expecting?  I’m guessing not…  A few notes:

Geography: 7/13 from outside Europe (a first, although you could argue it’s 6/13…)
Gender: 8/13 of the books by female writers (easily the highest ratio I’ve seen)
Presses: 13/13 from small(ish) publishers (no PRH titles?!)

I’ll leave it there for now, but never fear: our Shadow Panel is already on the case, nodding and shaking our heads, tutting fiercely and sharpening our pencils in a menacing fashion.  Watch out for our official response to the longlist, coming soon.  I wonder what we’ll have to say about this bunch of books…

10 thoughts on “The 2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist!

  1. Haven’t read any of these, in fact never heard of any, which just goes to show how important the prize is in terms of bringing attention to superior authors and translators. And your column itself was a lot of fun.


    1. Janine – It’s not the longlist most were expecting, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’ll certainly be interesting to try some of these books…


    1. Dorte – Not so much ‘want to’ as ‘have committed myself to doing so’. I do suspect that this may not be my favourite… 😉


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