Samanta Schweblin and Daniel Kehlmann among authors longlisted for $86K International Booker Prize

The U.K. award celebrates translated fiction from around the world. The prize is split equally between author and translator. 

The U.K. award celebrates translated fiction from around the world

Authors Samanta Schweblin and Daniel Kehlmann are on the 2020 longlist for the Man Booker International Prize. (Man Booker/Beowulf Sheehan)

Argentinian writer Samanta Schweblin and German novelist Daniel Kehlmann are two of the 13 authors longlisted for the 2019 International Booker Prize.

Schweblin and Kehlmann are being recognized for their translated novels Little Eyes and Tyll, respectively.

The £50,000 ($86,302.52 Cdn) award celebrates works of translated fiction from around the world. The prize is split equally between author and translator.

This year's longlist features works translated from eight languages exploring diverse topics including grief, dystopias, rural life and the histories of their countries.

Schweblin's Little Eyes, translated from Spanish to English by Megan McDowell.

The novel is an exploration of both the beauty and unsettling reality of an increasingly connected world and issues of surveillance and voyeurism that arise when a seemingly harmless robotic device called Kentuki takes the world by storm. 

Schweblin was previously longlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2019 for the short story collection Mouthful of Birds, and shortlisted in 2017 for her 2014 debut novel Fever Dream.

Kehlmann's Tyll, translated by Ross Benjamin, is a 17th century retelling of the German myth of the trickster Tyll Ulenspiegel, starting from his upbringing in a small village and weaving in various historical figures and elements of magical realism.

Previously shortlisted translator Sophie Hughes appears on the list twice for Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor and Mac and His Problems by Enrique Vila-Matas, which she translated from Spanish alongside Margaret Jull Costa.

There are no Canadian authors or translators on the 2020 longlist.

The other books on the longlist are:

  • Red Dog by Willem Anker, translated by Michiel Heyns (South Africa)
  • The Enlightenment of The Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar, translated by an anonymous translator (Iran)
  • The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón, translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh (Argentina)
  • The Other Name: Septology I – II by Jon Fosse, translated by Damion Searls (Norway)
  • The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin (Georgia)
  • Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Shaun Whiteside (France)
  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder (Japan)
  • Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano, translated by Sophie Lewis and Jennifer Higgins (France)
  • The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison (Netherlands)

The longlist was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank Centre, and made up of novelist Valeria Luiselli, Lucie Campos, director of the Villa Gillet, France's centre for international writing; translator and writer Jennifer Croft and poet Jeet Thayil.

The shortlist will be announced on April 2, 2020. The winner will be revealed on May 19, 2020.

Omani author Jokha Alharthi and translator Marilyn Booth won the International Booker Prize 2019 for novel Celestial Bodies.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?