Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 - shortlist announced

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 - shortlist announced
9 April 2015

First-time translation from Equatorial Guinea features on the 25th anniversary shortlist.


International literary giants Haruki Murakami and Erwin Mortier have made the shortlist for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. They are joined by German authors Jenny Erpenbeck and Daniel Kehlmann, as well as the Prize's first shortlisted book from Equatorial Guinea, courtesy of Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel. They are joined on the list by Colombian Tomás González.


The shortlist is:


  • By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel translated from the Spanish by Jethro Soutar (And Other Stories)
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel (Harvill Secker)
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (Portobello Books)
  • F by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway (Quercus)
  • In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González translated from the Spanish by Frank Wynne (Pushkin Press)
  • While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent (Pushkin Press)


Find out more about this year's shortlist


Over 25 years the Prize has showcased the work of newly-translated authors. Two writers on this year's shortlist will be new to English speakers: both Spanish-language writers but both from outside Spain: Colombian Tomás González (In the Beginning Was the Sea) and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel from Equatorial Guinea, Africa's only Spanish-speaking country.


By Night the Mountain Burns is only the second novel from Equatorial Guinea ever to be translated into English from that country, and was selected by the publisher, And Other Stories, through its international reading groups programme, which invites readers to propose suitable titles for translation.


Claire Shanahan, non-voting chair of judges and Head of Arts at Book Trust says:

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Prize, it's poignant to reflect on the consistent quality of good writing and translation being brought to readers from around the world. Over the past five years, we've received 595 submissions in 44 different languages, highlighting the richness and variety of fiction from across the globe.

Books play an increasingly important role in our understanding of the world around us. They start an introduction into a wide tapestry of knowledge and culture, which can help readers understand who they are and the place they have in the world. This shortlist encapsulates the excitement of looking outwards and discovering new and different voices.

Kehlmann, Erpenbeck and Murakami have all been shortlisted for the prize before, as have their respective translators Carol Brown Janeway, Susan Bernofsky and Philip Gabriel. Frank Wynne who won in 2005 with his translation of Windows on the World, written by Frédéric Beigbeder, appears again on the shortlist for his translation of In the Beginning Was the Sea


This year's shortlist was chosen by a panel of five judges from 111 titles from 28 source languages. 


The 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize was won by Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim and translator Jonathan Wright for The Iraqi Christ, published by Comma Press. Previous winners of the Prize include Orhan Pamuk and translator Victoria Holbrook in 1990 for The White Castle; W.G. Sebald and translator Anthea Bell in 2002 for Austerlitz; and Per Petterson and translator Anne Born in 2006 for Out Stealing Horses.


Key dates:


  • Shortlist event at Foyles (London Book and Screen Week) - Thursday 16th April. Buy tickets.
  • 'All Must Have Prizes - the unstoppable rise of translated fiction' - joint event with English PEN at the London Review Bookshop - 26th May
  • Award ceremony - will be announced at a special ceremony at RIBA on Wednesday 27th May
  • IFFP event, Hay Festival, 28th May, 7pm (to be confirmed)


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