The literary award season is in full-swing. This week, long-lists for several prizes were announced including that for the 2010 Orange Prize. I like prizes that focus on international (or global) literature and of course, prizes for women’s literature. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, run by British newspaper The Independent, honors contemporary fiction in translation available in the UK. It is the only prize that recognizes both the novelist and the translator of the winning book.
The books on this year’s long list are:
- The Coronation by Boris Akunin (translated by Andrew Bromfield from the Russian) – a historical novel about the Romanovs, set in the 1890s
- To Music by Ketil Bjørnstad (trs Deborah Dawkin & Erik Skuggevik; Norwegian) – a coming-of-age story about a 16 year old musical prodigy.
- The Madman of Freedom Square by Hassan Blasim (tr. Johnathan Wright; Arabic) – a collection of short stories examining the relationship between the West and Iraq.
- Brodeck’s Report by Philippe Claudel (tr. John Cullen; French) – a story of post Second World War France narrated by a survivor of Nazi concentration camps.
- The Blind Side of the Heart (tr. Anthea Bell; German) – about a woman who cuts emotionally ties with her 7-year old son
- Fists by Pietro Grossi (tr. Howard Curtis; Italian) – a collection of three stories about young boys and their transformation into young adults.
- Yalo by Elias Khoury (tr. Humphrey Davies; Arabic) – about a Beirut criminal and his numerous confessions for rape, robbery and arms smuggling
- The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell (tr. Charlotte Mandell; French) – a historical fiction novel narrated by a former SS officer
- Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou (tr. Helen Stevenson; French) – about the patrons, including one nicknamed Broken Glass, of a run-down bar in the Congo.
- Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 3; Poison, Shadow and Farewell by Javier Marías (tr. Margaret Jull Costa; Spanish) – the conclusion of the trilogy about Jacques Deza’s life
- The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (tr. Stephen Snyder; Japanese) – story evolves around a young housekeeper and her ten-year-old son, who are linked to a retired university professor through numbers.
- Thursday Night Widows by Claudia Piñeiro (tr. Miranda France: Spanish) – a crime novel about a triple homicide in the most desirable house of a posh suburb in Argentina.
- Chowringhee by Sankar (tr. Arunava Sinha; Bengali) – story of a group of individuals who operate an exclusive hotel in Calcutta.
- The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami (tr. Anthea Bell; German) – a story of forbidden love set against the background of Arabic culture,
- Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher (tr Humphrey Davies; Arabic) – a novel about a society at war and a marriage in trouble
All these books sound very interesting. I haven’t read any of the books but I will probably pick three from the list to read this year. The short list of six books will be announced in April.
Have you read any of these books? What literary awards do you follow?