Angolan Author Makes Prestigious Man Booker International Prize Shortlist

The Man Booker international prize is a foremost international literary award hosted in Britain, it was introduced in 2004 to complement the Man Booker Prize.

Prior to 2016 where some terms of the award were reconfigured, it was given every two years to any living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or generally available in English translation.

From this year however, it will now be given annually to a single book in English translation, with a £50,000 prize for the winning title, shared equally between author and translator.

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The winners for the new Man Booker International prize were named on Monday evening. It is a reward for the best translated novel of the year, a high-profile acclamation with the generous cash prize of £50,000. The brains behind the award have also commissioned research from Nielsen into how the increasing number of works of translated literature actually sell.

An Angolan author made it to the shortlist and is comfortably in the running for this year’s Man Booker International Prize.

José Eduardo Agualusa wrote the novel ‘A General Theory of Oblivion’ where he tells the story of Angola through Ludo, a woman who bricks herself into her apartment on the eve of Angolan independence and spends the next 28 years living off vegetables and pigeons until a child outside begins interacting with her.

Man Booker international Prize

The full list of runners for the Man Booker International Prize can be found below:

  • José Eduardo Agualusa’s A General Theory of Oblivion (Angola); translated by Daniel Hahn
  • Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child (Italy); translated by Ann Goldstein
  • Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (South Korea); translated by Deborah Smith
  • Yan Lianke’s The Four Books (China); translated by Carlos Rojas
  • Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness in My Mind (Turkey); translated by Ekin Oklap
  • Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life (Austria); translated by Charlotte Collins

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The shortlist had been derived from a long list of 13, which was gotten from an initial 155 entries. The six different languages and four countries (Angola, Austria, South Korea and Turkey) covered for the first time, have caused the judges to praise the diversity this year of what they called an “exhilarating” shortlist.

The judges praised Agualusa’s book as “a unique portrait of a society in flux” and we cannot but hope that this African export will bring the prize home this night.