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Women Dominate 2022 International Booker Shortlist

Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk, Japan's Mieko Kawakami are among the novelists on the International Booker Prize shortlist, which features a Hindi novel for the first time.
Women dominate 2022 International Booker shortlist

The jury of the International Booker Prize, awarded annually to a book that has been translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland, has announced the names of the final candidates and their novels at the London Book Fair on April 7.

"Wildly original works of literature that will captivate readers, this year's shortlisted books all explore trauma, whether on an individual or societal level," the jury said in a press statement released after the announcement.

Here is the shortlist:

'Cursed Bunny'

Written by Korean author Bora Chung, "Cursed Bunny" is a collection of short stories.

According to the jury, her book "uses elements of the fantastic and surreal to address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society." 

The book has been translated by Anton Hur, who was born in Sweden and is living in South Korea for the last 30 years. Hur featured twice in this year's longlist — his translation of "Love in the Big City" by Korean author Sang Young Park was also in the list of the 13 nominees announced by the Booker committee earlier this year.


In "Heaven," Japanese writer Mieko Kawakami tells the story of a 14-year-old who is bullied by his friends but accepts his victim's role with resignation.

"This is a haunting novel of the threat of violence that can stalk our teenage years," the jury said in its statement.

The novel has been translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd.

Kawakami reacted to the announcement by thanking her team and her readers in a tweet.  

'Tomb of Sand' 

Indian author Geetanjali Shree's book is the first Hindi novel to be shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. The story explores the life of an 80-year-old woman living in northern India, who decides to go to Pakistan to confront her teenage trauma of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.

Indian author Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand' features in this year's shortlist

Indian author Geetanjali Shree's 'Tomb of Sand' features in this year's shortlist

The jury called it "an engaging protest against the destructive impact of borders." The novel has been translated by Daisy Rockwell, US-based painter, writer and translator. Rockwell was "Feeling a bit dazed by this news at the moment," she wrote on Twitter.

'The Books of Jacob'

Written by 2018 Nobel literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk,"The Books of Jacob" takes readers to the age of Enlightenment in Europe and on a journey with Jacob Frank, a young Jew of mysterious origins, who gains a fervent following. He traverses the Habsburg and the Ottoman empires, converting into Islam and then to Catholicism.

The book has been translated by Jennifer Croft, whose translation of Tokarczuk's "Flights" won the International Booker Prize in 2018.

'Elena Knows' 

Argentinian Claudia Pineiro explores the genre of crime fiction anew with her novel, telling the story of a mother who sets out to look for her daughter's killers after officials close the murder case.

"A unique story that interweaves crime fiction with intimate tales of morality and the search for individual freedom" is what the jury had to say about the novel.

It has been translated by Frances Riddle, who has also rendered books by authors like Isabel Allende into English.

A New Name: Septology VI-VII' 

As the title suggests, this book is the final in a series of seven books by Norwegian author Jon Fosse — the only male candidate featuring in the shortlist.

The story is about a painter called Asle, living on the Norwegian coast among his friends, but plagued by his "doppelgänger," a man with a completely opposite version of his life.

The jury called the book "a transcendent exploration of the human condition." 

It has been translated by Damion Searles.

Special recognition for translators

The nominees were named by the chair of judges, Frank Wynne, who emphasized the importance of translators of these works. 

"Translation is an intimate, intricate dance that crosses borders, cultures and languages. There is little to compare to the awe and exhilaration of discovering the perfect pairing of writer and translator," Wynne said.

The winners of the prize will be named on 26 May. The prize money of 50,000 pounds (€60,092, $65,230) will be shared by the author and the translator of the work. Additionally, shortlisted authors and translators will receive 2,500 pounds each.

Courtesy: DW

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