Today, we present the Man Booker International Prize Longlist, celebrating the best books not originally written in English, and the people who translate them so beautifully.
Every culture, and every language, has its own literary traditions. The English language tradition has Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Austen–all the names that we learned about in school, and whose skill shaped, and continue to shape, the books we read today.
But now, imagine growing up in a world where those authors….weren’t the ones you grew up reading. A world where you had other authors–other traditions–other phrases that called up your emotions.
It’s really hard to do. But that is what makes books not written in English so incredible. They are based in different cultures, different linguistic structures, different overall world experiences. And I don’t know if there is a more intimate way to experience a different culture than to read its literature.
Better yet, the Man Booker Prize celebrates translations, as well. If writing a book is a difficult process, translating that book is another matter entirely. The ability to interpret not only an author’s words, but his or her intentions is a rare one. To be able to keep one foot in the original language and one in the new is a balancing act that few can pull off with grace.
So while we celebrate these remarkable books, let’s not forget the remarkable translators who made it possible for us to read them in English. And be sure to check out these longlisted books soon!*
The 2018 Man Booker International prize Longlist
•The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor,
• Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
• The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes
• Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Camilo A. Ramirez
• Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright
The shortlist will be announced on April 12, 2018, and the awards ceremony is May 22, 2018, so stay tuned, dear readers!