At a time when many literary awards seems to be endangered species, it’s great to see the International Booker Prize, acknowledging both author and translator, seems as buoyant as ever.
Translators often get short shrift in the world of book sales. Essential to the process of bringing a book to life in another language, yet all too often relegated to a one-line mention on the inside pages, which is one of the big appeals of the International Booker Prize, which splits a £50,000 prize equally between author and translator. Each shortlisted title will pocket £5,000.
Leïla Slimani, a French-Moroccan novelist, will it seems (The Bookseller has the press release) chair the 2023 panel of International Booker Prize judges, joined by a Ukrainian-English translator, a Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist, a staff writer and critic at the New Yorker and the literary editor of the Financial Times.
The Bookseller offers an insight into the power of this prestigious prize to drive sales:
The 2022 winner, Tomb of Sand, written by Geetanjali Shree and translated by Daisy Rockwell, was met with both public and critical acclaim. The novel made history as the first book originally written in any Indian language to win the prize. The book’s British publisher, Tilted Axis, ordered a 15,000 reprint the day after the announcement that it had won the International Booker Prize and sales in the UK increased in volume by 877% in the week after the announcement.
Before the win, Tomb of Sand did not have a US publisher, and had not been reviewed by any UK newspapers. It was subsequently praised as “a triumph of literature” by the Financial Times and “a novel of enormous intelligence” by the Daily Telegraph. The day after the announcement, US publisher HarperVia acquired rights to the book.
Read more at The Bookseller.