Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011

Latest update 'The 2015 judging panel has been announced'

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 judging panel has been announced. It features broadcaster and journalist Rosie Goldsmith, literary translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones, translator and academic Richard Mansell, author Helen Oyeyemi and longstanding judge Boyd Tonkin, senior writer and columnist at The Independent.

 

The Prize, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, will honour the best work of fiction by a living author that has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in 2014.

 

The deadline for publishers to submit entries was Tuesday 16 September. A longlist of approximately 15 titles will be released in March, a shortlist of six will be announced in April and the winning author and translator will be awarded the £10,000 Prize in May.

 

Claire Shanahan, Head of Arts at Booktrust and non-voting Chair of Judges says:

In our times of Euro-politics and global climate change, books play an increasingly important role in our understanding of the world around us; the things that divide us and ultimately the things that unite us, that make us human. Having seen the quality of the submissions for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015, all published in 2014, the experienced panel of judges has some tough choices on their hands, but I am certain that together they will highlight to UK readers the very best books from around the world.

  • 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.

 

  • Boyd Tonkin

    Senior Writer and Columnist

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. It was then revived in 2001 with the support of Arts Council England and is now managed by Booktrust. The £10,000 Prize money and associated costs are supported using public funding by Arts Council England. The Prize is also supported by The Independent and Champagne Taittinger.

 

Previous Winners 

 

  • 2014 The Iraqi Christ written by Hassan Blasim, translated from Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press)
  • 2013 The Detour written by Gerbrand Bakker, translated from Dutch by David Colmer (Harvill Secker)
  • 2012 Blooms of Darkness written by Aharon Appelfeld, translated from Hebrew by Jeffrey M Green (Alma Books)
  • 2011 Red April written by Santiago Roncagliolo, translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman (Atlantic Books)
  • 2010 Brodeck's Report written by Philippe Claudel,  translated from French by John Cullen (MacLehose Press)
  • 2009 The Armies written by Evelio Rosero, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean (MacLehose Press)
  • 2008 Omega Minor written by Paul Verhaeghen, translated from Dutch by the author (Dalkey Archive Press)
  • 2007 The Book of Chameleons written by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahan (Simon & Schuster)
  • 2006 Out Stealing Horses written by Per Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born (Harvill Secker)
  • 2005 Windows on the World written by Frédéric Beigbeder, translated from the French by Frank Wynne (HarperCollins)
  • 2004 Soldiers of Salamina written by Javier Cercas, translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean (Bloomsbury)
  • 2003 The Visit of the Royal Physician written by Per Olov Enquist, from the Swedish by Tiina Nunnally (Harvill Press)
  • 2002 Austerlitz written by W G Sebald, translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Penguin). Prize won by Sebald (posthumously).
  • 1996-2001 Prize in abeyance
  • 1995 The Film Explainer written by Gert Hofmann,  translated from German by Michael Hofmann (Secker)
  • 1994 The Sorrow of War written by Bao Ninh, translated from Vietnamese by Phanh Thanh Hao (Harvill Press)
  • 1993 The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis written by José Saramago, translated from Portuguese by Giovanni Pontiero (Harvill Press)
  • 1992 The Death Of Napoleon written by Simon Leys, translated from French by Patricia Clancy (Quartet Books)
  • 1991 Immortality written by Milan Kundera, translated from Czech by Peter Kussi (Faber & Faber)
  • 1990 The White Castle written by Orhan Pamuk, translated from Turkish by Victoria Holbrook (Carcanet)


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