Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011

Latest update 'The 2015 Prize has now closed to entries'
  • Winner

    Red April

    Santiago Roncagliolo
    Translator: Edith Grossman

    Atlantic Books

    Since the literary world started to go crazy for Roberto Bolaño, there has been a real resurgence of interest in South American writing - and on the basis of Santiago Roncagliolo's debut novel it's easy to see why. This tense political thriller is effortlessly written and breathes new life into that tired genre.

    It is Holy Week in Lima, but the atmosphere on the streets is hellish. Peru is awash with assassination, bribery, intrigue, torture, and enforced disappearance; the crime rate is soaring and the country stand in the middle of a war between grim, ideologically driven terrorism and morally bankrupt government counter-insurgence.

    In the middle of the maelstrom is Felix Chacaltana Saldivar, a hapless, by-the-book and unambitious prosecutor. His life has been unremarkable, touched only by the death of his mother and his love of literature. But when he is surprisingly put in charge of a gruesome and unsettling murder investigation. It's case that will take him to the brink of his own sanity, forcing Saldivar to confront what happens to a man and society when death becomes the only certainty.

    Remarkable, erudite and utterly compelling, there is little wonder that Roncagiolo became the youngest ever winner of the Alfaguara Prize, one of Spanish most prestigious literary awards.

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011 was awarded to Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo for his third novel, Red April (Atlantic Books). At 36, Roncagliolo was the youngest-ever author, as well as the first from Peru, to win the Prize.

The £10,000 award is shared equally with Roncagliolo’s American translator, Edith Grossman, who is also a first-time winner. She was previously shortlisted for the Prize in 2003.

Santiago Roncagliolo commented:

 The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize closes a wonderful "British season" for me and my book. During the last twelve months I’ve been to the UK many times to talk at festivals, libraries, bookshops and universities and I am sure that the support of all the people I met during those visits, including my publishers, my agents and my great translator, has been instrumental in my receiving of the Prize. I want to share it with them.

Red April is a book with a lot of British influences, from Ian McEwan's The Innocent to Allan Moore's graphic novel From Hell. Maybe that is why British readers have been so generous to me. But I also believe that the British are looking back to Latin American writers – many of my friends and colleagues from Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia have also been listed for the Prize. I am very happy to have won, but I was already honoured to be on the longlist, to be considered in the same league as such amazing writers. I guess this is a Prize for all of us!


Read a full interview with Santiago about his win

Edith Grossman commented:

 I am thrilled that this wonderful novel by a young writer has won so prestigious a Prize and I am grateful to the judges for their decision. Translating the work of a fine writer is sheer pleasure: the better the writing, the more satisfying the challenge for the translator.  This is why I so enjoyed the opportunity to bring the work of Santiago over into English. His use of language is clean and sharp and perceptive, and regardless of the kind of piece he has written, that wonderful quality is constant.


Boyd Tonkin, Chair of Judges, commented:

 Santiago Roncagliolo has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with a novel that will grip, excite, disturb and challenge all its readers. Rooted in but not confined to the cycle of terror and counter-terror in Peru, Red April deploys with tremendous skill and cunning the arts of the political thriller in order to dramatise the struggle between love and hate, creation and destruction, in a community, a country – and in the human mind itself.

About the shortlist

Boyd Tonkin, judge and Literary Editor of the Independent, commented:

 This year's shortlist both salutes some much-loved authors and introduces exciting new voices. As always, it combines a supremely high standard of imagination and expression with a sweeping variety of forms and settings.

He continued:

 From Orhan Pamuk's romantic epic of love and change in Istanbul to Santiago Roncagliolo's thrilling, chilling novel of Peru in conflict; from Per Petterson's wistful and touching account of a troubled youth in Norway to Jenny Erpenbeck's lyrical vision of German history via a single house and its inhabitants, the selection will move, inspire and enlighten. And this unique Prize also pays tribute again to the art of the translators who have brought these compelling stories to an English-language readership.

Shortlist

  • Visitation

    Jenny Erpenbeck

    Translated by Susan Bernofsky

    Portobello
  • Kamchatka

    Marcelo Figueras

    Translated by Frank Wynne

    Atlantic
  • Museum of Innocence

    Orhan Pamuk
    Translated by Maureen Freely

    Faber
  • I Curse the River of Time

    Per Petterson

    Translated by Charlotte Barslund

    Vintage
  • Red April

    Santiago Roncagliolo
    Translator: Edith Grossman

    Atlantic Books
  • The Sickness

    Alberto Barrera Tyszka
    Translator: Margaret Jull Costa

    Quercus

Longlist

  • Visitation

    Jenny Erpenbeck

    Translated by Susan Bernofsky

    Portobello
  • Kamchatka

    Marcelo Figueras

    Translated by Frank Wynne

    Atlantic
  • To the End of the Land

    David Grossman
    Translator: Jessica Cohen

    Vintage
  • Fame

    Daniel Kehlmann
    Translator: Carol Brown Janeway

    Quercus
  • Beside the Sea

    Veronique Olmi
    Translator: Adriana Hunter

    Pereine Press
  • Museum of Innocence

    Orhan Pamuk
    Translated by Maureen Freely

    Faber
  • I Curse the River of Time

    Per Petterson

    Translated by Charlotte Barslund

    Vintage
  • Red April

    Santiago Roncagliolo
    Translator: Edith Grossman

    Atlantic Books
  • Gargling with Tar

    Jachym Topol

    Translated by David Short

    Portobello
  • The Sickness

    Alberto Barrera Tyszka
    Translator: Margaret Jull Costa

    Quercus
  • The Secret History of Costaguana

    Juan Gabriel Vasquez

    Translated by Anne McLean

    Bloomsbury
  • The Journey of Anders Sparrman

    Per Wastberg

    Translated by Tom Geddes

    Granta
  • Lovetown

    Michal Witkowski

    Translated by William Martin

    Portobello Books
  • Villain

    Shuichi Yoshida

    Translated by Philip Gabriel

    Harvill Secker
  • Dark Matter

    Juli Zeh

    Translated by Christine Lo

    Vintage

Boyd Tonkin, judge and Literary Editor of the Independent, commented:

This year's longlist is a fantastic demonstration of the rich range and quality of fiction in translation being published in Britain today and it’s wonderful to see so many languages represented from all over the world. This list is a feast for readers and choosing the eventual winner will be real challenge for the judges.

Judges

 

Commented Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature, Arts Council England

 Literature in translation gives readers new ways of understanding our fast-changing world.

 

About the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011

The annual Prize honours the best work of fiction by a living author, which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. Uniquely, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize gives the winning author and translator equal status - each receives £5,000 - recognising the importance of the translator in their ability to bridge the gap between languages and culture.


First awarded in 1990 to Orhan Pamuk and translator Victoria Holbrook for The White Castle, the Prize ran until 1995 and was then revived in 2000 with the support of Arts Council England. The Prize money and associated costs continue to be funded by Arts Council England and are supported by The Independent and Champagne Taittinger. Booktrust manage the Prize.

 

Previous Winners 

 

2014 Hassan Blasim, The Iraqi Christ translated by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press), Arabic

2013 Gerbrand Bakker, The Detour translated by David Colmer (Harvill Secker), Dutch

2012 Aharon Appelfeld, Blooms of Darkness translated by Jeffrey M Green (Alma), Hebrew

2011 Santiago Roncagliolo, Red April translated by Edith Grossman (Atlantic Books), Spanish
2010 Philippe Claudel, Brodeck's Report translated by John Cullen (MacLehose Press), French
2009 Evelio Rosero, The Armies translated by Anne McLean  ,Spanish
2008 Paul Verhaeghen, Omega Minor translated by the author from the Dutch)
2007 José Eduardo Agualusa, The Book of Chameleons (Portuguese, trans. Daniel Hahn)
2006 Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses (Norwegian; Anne Born; Harvill Secker)
2005 Frédéric Beigbeder, Windows on the World (French, trans. by Frank Wynne)
2004 Javier Cercas, Soldiers of Salamina (Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean)
2003 Per Olov Enquist, The Visit of the Royal Physician (Swedish, Tiina Nunnally)
2002 W G Sebald (posthumously) Austerlitz (German, Anthea Bell)
1996-2001 Prize in abeyance.

1995 Gert Hofmann, The Film Explainer (German, Michael Hofmann)
1994 Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War (Vietnamese, Phanh Thanh Hao)
1993 José Saramago, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (Portuguese, Giovanni Pontiero)
1992 Simon Leys, The Death Of Napoleon (French, Patricia Clancy)
1991 Milan Kundera, Immortality (Czech, Peter Kussi)
1990 Orhan Pamuk, The White Castle (Turkish, Victoria Holbrook)

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 invited publishers to submit entries from 8 August to 16 September 2014. For reference please view the Terms & Conditions.

 

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 Terms and Conditions

 

If you have any queries please email iffp@booktrust.org.uk or call Hannah Davies on 020 8875 4838