Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015


The announcement of the long list for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is always an exciting time as for the last four years I’ve attempted to read all the books (though I haven’t yet succeeded). This year, privileged to be among the Shadow Jury, I have found myself experiencing new levels of anticipation. Luckily the wait is over and the chosen books have been revealed:

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, By Night the Mountain Burns (Spanish: trans. Jethro Soutar), And Other Stories

Tomas Bannerhed, The Ravens (Swedish: trans. Sarah Death), Clerkenwell Press

Jenny Erpenbeck, The End of Days (German: trans. Susan Bernofsky), Portobello Books

Marcello Fois, Bloodlines (Italian: trans. Silvester Mazzarella), MacLehose Press

Tomás González, In the Beginning Was the Sea (Spanish: trans. Frank Wynne), Pushkin Press

Hamid Ismailov, The Dead Lake (Russian: trans. Andrew Bromfield), Peirene Press

Daniel Kehlmann, F (German: trans. Carol Brown Janeway), Quercus

Karl Ove Knausgaard, Boyhood Island (Norwegian: trans. Don Bartlett), Harvill Secker

J.M. Lee, The Investigation (Korean: trans. Chi-Young Kim), Mantle

Erwin Mortier, While the Gods Were Sleeping (Dutch: trans. Paul Vincent), Pushkin Press

Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Japanese: trans. Philip Gabriel), Harvill Secker

Judith Schalansky, The Giraffe’s Neck (German: trans. Shaun Whiteside), Bloomsbury

Stefanie de Velasco, Tiger Milk (German: trans. Tim Mohr), Head of Zeus

Timur Vermes, Look Who’s Back (German: trans. Jamie Bulloch), MacLehose Press

Can Xue, The Last Lover (Chinese: trans. Annelise Finegan), Yale University Press

While there are some surprising omissions (Mathias Enard, Elena Ferrante, Andres Neuman) and once again my favourite Peirene title has had its place taken by another, I must admit I probably would have been more disappointed if the long list had simply reflected my own tastes. Much of the enjoyment over the last few years has been in the discovery of new authors, and hopefully that will prove to be the case this time. Once again, having read five of the books, I hope to read the other ten before both the Shadow Jury and more substantial one decide on their short list.


6 Responses to “Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015”

  1. Bellezza Says:

    I have just finished The End of Days, and I’m quite impressed by it. You’ve read many more than I have, but I hope to catch up over Spring Break at the end of March. I’ll be a reading maniac! Good to be on the journey with you.

    • 1streading Says:

      Yes, I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of a group reading through the list, though I’m nervous of reading reviews of titles I haven’t read as I don’t want to prejudice my views! Everyone seems to have been positive about The End of Days, though.

      • Bellezza Says:

        Yes, it’s important to come to the book with a “clean slate”. That’s what I do in my classroom, too. I refuse to look at children’s files until I know them personally. Who knows what last year’s battle ax might say? 😉

  2. winstonsdad Says:

    I’ve just got four left now to read

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