International Booker Prize 2022 Longlist

My International Booker Prize predictions may have mentioned five of the final longlist, but in other ways the thirteen selected have been something of a surprise. First of all, it is the fewest number of European books in the Prize’s history – normally around half (between 6 and 7) of the longlist are by European writers, but this year there are only four. Two were expected by many to be there – previous winner Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob (translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft) and the final part of Jon Fosse’s Septology, A New Name (translated from Norwegian by Damion Searls). The other two represent the first appearance in English of their authors. Jonas Eika’s short story collection After the Sun (translated from Danish by Sherilyn Hellberg) has already won the Nordic Literature Prize and is published by Lolli Editions, whose The Employees was a highlight of last year’s longlist. Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother (translated from French by Leslie Camhi) is a debut novel which has also already won prizes.

Latin America is represented by Claudia Pineiro’s Elena Knows (translated from Spanish by Frances Riddle), one of my favourite books of the last year, and Fernanda Melchor’s Paradais (translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes), published later this month. Melchor was shortlisted as recently as 2020 for Hurricane Season, and Pineiro appeared on the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist back in 2010 with Thursday Night Widows.

The real achievement of this year’s longlist, however, is its global nature. With Europe and Latin America making up less than half of the titles, its leaves space for a wider range of countries to be represented. Much of this is down to the three books published by Tilted Axis Press: Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park (translated from Korean by Anton Hur); Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (translated from Indonesian by Tiffany Tsao); and Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree (translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell). How wonderful that (previous winner) Deborah Smith’s publishing venture finally gets the recognition it deserves. (Ironically, having faithfully suggested that one of their titles should be selected in every previous year, this year I simply haven’t read any yet).

Finally, there is another Korean title, and another translation credit for Anton Hur, in Bora Chung’s Cursed Bunny, a Japanese representative in the form of Heaven by Mieko Kawakami (translated from Japanese by Samuel Bett and David Boyd) and, from Israel, a second previous winner, David Grossman, with More Than I Love My Life (translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen).

The full list is:

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated from Korean by Anton Hur (Honford Star)

After the Sun by Jonas Eika, translated from Danish by Sherilyn Hellberg (Lolli Editions)

A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse, translated from Norwegian by Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

More Than I Love My Life by David Grossman, translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen (Jonathan Cape)

The Book of Mother by Violaine Huisman, translated from French by Leslie Camhi (Virago)

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, translated from Japanese by Samuel Bett and David Boyd (Picador)

Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park, translated from Korean by Anton Hur (Tilted Axis Press)

Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated from Indonesian by Tiffany Tsao (Tilted Axis Press)

Elena Knows by Claudia Piñeiro, translated from Spanish by Frances Riddle (Charco Press)

Phenotypes by Paulo Scott, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn (And Other Stories)

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated from Hindi by Daisy Rockwell (Tilted Axis Press)

The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Reading the longest before the shortlist is announced (7th April) will be quite impossible for me having only read two, and with The Books of Jacob and Tomb of Sand coming in at almost 1,700 pages altogether. Having said that, I will be reading as many as I can…



10 Responses to “International Booker Prize 2022 Longlist”

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings Says:

    Good luck! There are a lot of pages to get through….

  2. heavenali Says:

    Good luck with your reading of the longlist. I have two of them tbr, Elena Knows on my kindle and a physical copy of After the Sun. It’s an interesting list.

  3. lauratfrey Says:

    Love the list this year.

  4. tonymess12 Says:

    Two of the titles have also been longlisted for this year’s Republic of Consciousness Prize (‘Happy Stories, Mostly’ by Norman Erikson Pasaribu (tr by Tiffany Tsao) & ‘After the Sun’ by Jonas Eika (tr. Sherilyn Hellberg) – the two I may get to over and above ‘The Books of Jacob’. Good luck with your reading Grant.

  5. JacquiWine Says:

    A fascinating list with lots of titles that are new to me. I’m particularly pleased to see so many books from small/independent publishers on the list, a testament to their investment in interesting and diverse fiction, especially in translation.

    • 1streading Says:

      Yes, independent publishers have come to dominate this prize. Larger publishers often seem unwilling to take the risk on anything seen as difficult or different.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: