2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize ― The Shortlist

A shortlist with 6 titles has been announced and we now know who are the finalists for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. They were selected from a pile of 126 books originally written in 30 different languages, then hand-picked from a long list with 15 titles. The winning author and translator will be awarded their £10,000 Prize at a ceremony in London on May 22nd.

Here are the lucky finalists:

  • "A Meal in Winter" by Hubert Mingarelli, translated from FRENCH by Sam Taylor
  • "The Mussel Feast" by Birgit Vanderbeke, translated from GERMAN by Jamie Bulloch
  • "A Man in Love" by Karl Ove Knausgård, translated from NORWEGIAN by Don Bartlett
  • "Revenge" by Yoko Ogawa, translated from JAPANESE by Stephen Snyder
  • "Strange Weather in Tokyo" by Hiromi Kawakami, translated from JAPANESE by Allison Markin Powell
  • "The Iraqi Christ" by Hassan Blasim, translated from ARABIC by Jonathan Wright

According to the Guardian, short stories dominate the list and Ogawa, Knausgaard, and Blasim are the highlights of the year. Judge Alev Adil, Artist in Residence, Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader for MA Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich, said the following to summarize the overall aspect of this year's prize:

Fiction in translation provides us with fresh perspectives on universal concerns. This list offers readers very different novels on love and the need for human connection with Mingarelli's A Meal in Winter, an elegant meditation on the holocaust, Vanderbeke's The Mussel Feast, a taut portrayal of a family tyrannized by their father and Kawakami's Strange Weather in Tokyo, a haunting romance between two lonely losers in the big city. This is a short list of intriguing contrasts, works that push the conventional boundaries of the novel with short stories as intricately interwoven as Shibari knots from Ogawa in Revenge and digressive quotidian detail from Knausgaard in A Man in Love. Fiction in translation offers us the most intimate and powerful medium for making sense of politics, of trauma and the aftermath of war. Blasim's The Iraqi Christ is an unforgettably surreal and powerful insight into contemporary Iraq, and shows us so much more than we could ever understand from televised news.

Take a look at this awesome mash-up with pictures of book covers, authors and translators: