Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who scooped last year’s Booker International Prize for fiction, was named on Tuesday among five female nominees for this year’s prestigious literary award.
Six writers in total have been shortlisted for the British-based prize, which celebrates the translated English-language versions of novels from around the world.
Tokarczuk, who won the 2018 award with the translation of Flights, is nominated this year for Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead. She is nominated alongside Jokha Alharthi from Oman—the first shortlisted writer from the Gulf—France’s Annie Ernaux, Marion Poschmann of Germany, Juan Gabriel Vasquez from Colombia and Chile’s Alia Trabucco Zeran.
The winner is to be announced in London on May 21.
The £50,000 prize is divided equally between the winning book’s author and translator.
“Wisdom in all its forms is here,” said historian and author Bettany Hughes, who chairs the judging panel. “Unexpected and unpredictable narratives compelled us to choose this vigorous shortlist. Subversive and intellectually ambitious with welcome flashes of wit, each book nourishes creative conversation. We were struck by the lucidity and supple strength of all the translations.”
The International Prize, which has been running since 2005, is the counterpart to the Booker Prize, which is awarded for books originally written in English.
The International Prize is open to books translated into English and published by British publishers between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Tokarczuk, considered the most talented Polish novelist of her generation, starts with the disappearance of an eccentric woman’s dogs. When two local hunters are murdered, she is drawn into the investigation.
Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies, translated from Arabic, tells of Oman’s transformation through the loves and losses of three sisters. Ernaux’s novel The Years, originally written in French, is a narrative of France from 1941 to 2006, told through memory and impressions of the past.
The Pine Islands by Poschmann, who has won both of Germany’s premier poetry prizes, is about a journeyman lecturer who flees his cheating wife for Japan and goes on a pilgrimage following the travel writings of a poet.
The Shape of the Ruins by Vasquez is a fictional account of his investigations into conspiracy theories surrounding the assassinations of Colombian politicians. The Remainder by Trabucco, also translated from Spanish, tells the story of three children of ex-militants overcoming Chile’s complex past.
Jokha Alharthi (Oman): Celestial Bodies
Annie Ernaux (France): The Years
Marion Poschmann (Germany): The Pine Islands
Olga Tokarczuk (Poland): Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead
Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Colombia): The Shape Of The Ruins
Alia Trabucco Zeran (Chile): The Remainder