Friday, February 29, 2008

Shortlist Announced for
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008

Arts Council England today announced the shortlist for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008, in association with Champagne Taittinger.

Six contenders from over 90 entries have been shortlisted for the prize, worth £10,000. They are:

Castorp by Pawel Huelle, translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones from the Polish, published by Serpent’s Tail

Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Carol Brown Janeway from the German, published by Quercus

Gregorius by Bengt Ohlsson, translated by Silvester Mazzarella from the Swedish, published by Portobello Books

The Model by Lars Saabye Christensen, translated by Don Barlett from the Norwegian, published by Arcadia Books

The Way of the Women by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Michiel Heyns from the Afrikaans, published by Little, Brown

Omega Minor by Paul Verhaeghen, translated by Paul Verhaeghen from the Dutch, published by Dalkey Archive Press

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from another language and published in the United Kingdom in the last year.

This year’s shortlist sees a strong show of European authors alongside South African author Marlene van Niekerk. The eclectic themes encompassed in the shortlist includes: a witty foray into the minds of two intellectual giants; the sinister story of an uninspired artist who discovers his sight is failing; a first world war ‘prequel’ to Mann’s The Magic Mountain; a tale of post-Apartheid South Africa told through folklore, diary entries and songs; an epic story of 20th century history spanning Einstein’s lost theorem and the Nazi legacy; and a fictional act of redemption for an archetypal villain of Swedish literature.

Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature Strategy, Arts Council England said:

“The judges had a hard task getting down to the final six, but have chosen a shortlist of very accomplished books that demonstrate a huge variety of ideas, stories and adventurous writing from around the world. The authors’ ability to introduce readers to the rich diversity of life illustrates why making international writing in translation available to everyone is so important.”

For further information contact:
Eleanor Hutchins / Katy MacMillan-Scott
020 7631 2666 /


The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize ran previously between 1990 and 1995 and was revived in 2001 with the support of Arts Council England. The winning author and translator will be awarded £5,000 each and a limited edition magnum of Champagne Taittinger at an award ceremony to be held on 8 May 2008 at a central London location.

The judges for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008 are: literary editor of The Independent, Boyd Tonkin; writer and teacher, Abdulrazak Gurnah; literary editor of Le Monde, Florence Noiville; Arts Council England Literature Officer, Kate Griffin.

Castorp is reviewed in the NZ Listener issue of 16-22 February.

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