2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Shortlist announced

Posted on 9th April 2015 by Rob Chilver
First-time translations from Colombia and Equatorial Guinea are amongst the shortlist for the 2015 IFF Prize.

One of the many joys of awards shortlists is finding new authors rubbing shoulders up against more familiar names. With the shortlist for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, two of the writers will be new to English speakers. Both are Spanish-language writers but come from outside Spain:  Tomás González from Colombia and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel from Equatorial Guinea, which, in a fact that is bound to come in handy at some point in a pub quiz, is Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country. Alongside the new names, Daniel Kehlmann, Jenny Erpenbeck and Haruki Murakami have previously all been shortlisted for the prize before alongside their respective translators Carol Brown Janeway, Susan Bernofsky and Philip Gabriel. 

Here's the shortlist in full:

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky

In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne 

F by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway 

By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar

While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel

Boyd Tonkin, senior writer and columnist for The Independent said of the shortlist:

"I’m delighted by the diversity, the originality and the reader-friendly accessibility of this year’s shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Where else would you find both a worldwide bestseller from one of the world’s most beloved novelists (Haruki Murakami) and a beautifully engrossing story from a writer and a country that most of us have yet to discover: Juan Tomas Avila Laurel from Equatorial Guinea? Daniel Kehlmann’s sparkling comedy-of-ideas and Jenny Erpenbeck’s lyrical history both bear witness to the strength-in-depth of German-language fiction now, while Erwin Mortier gives us a haunting First World War novel from a Flemish, and a female, perspective. From Colombia, Tomas Gonzalez’s timeless fable of the quest for the good life rounds off a global feast, served up in every case in expert and appetising translations."

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 27th May with the prize money shared equally between the author and translator.


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