International Booker prize announces 2023 long list that celebrates ‘ambition’

Shehan Karunatilaka won the 2022 Booker Prize  (Booker Prize Foundation / PA)
Shehan Karunatilaka won the 2022 Booker Prize (Booker Prize Foundation / PA)

An author who has ’come back from the dead’ is among the names long-listed for the this year’s International Booker Prize.

The £50,000 prize is awarded every year to a novel or short story which is written in any language, translated into English, and then published in the UK or Ireland.

The money is split equally between the original author and the translator, and today the long lists been announced.

Thirteen novels have been nominated, with the list featuring works in 11 different languages.

Maryse Conde’s work appears on the list, entitled The Gospel According to the New World, and makes her the oldest writer to ever be listed. She is 86 years old and dictated her novel to her husband and translator, Richard Philcox, as she is suffering from a degenerative neurological health issue which means she struggles to speak and see.

Other nominees include controversial author Peruman Murugan, who declared himself “dead” from writing after protests about his work, who has penned a piece named Pyre, which has been translated from Tamil by Aniruddhan Vasudevan.

There is also an Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov, who writes fiction in Russian.

Chair of judges Leila Sliming announced the long list today, declaring that it “celebrates the variety and diversity of literary production today”.

Joining Slimani on this year’s judging panel are Uilleam Blacker, one of Britain’s leading literary translators from Ukraine; Tan Twan Eng, the Booker-shortlisted Malaysian novelist; Parul Sehgal, staff writer and critic at the New Yorker; and Frederick Studemann, literary editor of the Financial Times.

They chose the longlist from 134 books published between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.

Full list of books:

  • Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches

  • Whale by Cheon Myeong-Kwan, translated by Chi-Young Kim

  • The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé, translated by Richard Philcox

  • Standing Heavy by GauZ, translated by Frank Wynne

  • Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel

  • Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund

  • Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv by Andrey Kurkov, translated by Rueben Woolley

  • The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier, translated by Daniel Levin Becker

  • While We Were Dreaming by Clemens Meyer, translated by Katy Derbyshire

  • Pyre by Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan

  • Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey

  • A System so Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson, translated by Nichola Smalley

  • Ninth Building by Zou Jingzhi, translated by Jeremy Tiang