At the announcement of the shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize on Thursday, the prize's director, Fiammetta Rocco, summed up its raison d'être perfectly: ‘If you believe that what unites us is stronger than what divides us, then this is the prize for you.’ It seemed to those gathered in the elegant surroundings of the Orangery at Kensington Palace a nice way of cutting through the flummery and chaff to state why books – and this prize – matter.
The Man Booker International Prize has revealed the shortlist of six books in contention for the 2016 Prize, celebrating the finest in global fiction.
With one day to go until our shortlist announcement on Thursday 14 April, the Man Booker International Prize 2016 judges panel comments on the longlist!
Fiston Mwanza Mujila tells us he considers writing to be like a saxophone and Roland Glasser describes how Mujila’s imagery and dialogue are like catnip to a translator. This is the tenth in our series of Man Booker International Prize 2016 longlisted author and translator interviews.
Elena Ferrante, the pseudonymous Italian (probably) author of The Story of the Lost Child, is one of the novelists in contention for the Man Booker International Prize – at least for now: the shortlist is announced next week, 14th April. Whether she makes the cut or not Ms/Mrs/Mr Ferrante has something else to look forward to. Her sequence of four novels is being turned into a 32-part television series in Italy. Pity though the poor scriptwriter, Francesco Piccolo. Even for such an epic task Ferrante will not reveal herself and work with him directly. All communication will be by email. According to her agent: ‘She will not literally write the script but she will read – I believe – everything. Every single draft, every single scene. She will go through it and by email she will express her thoughts, suggestions, advice. She is not the kind of person who says: ‘I wrote it, now you go do the rest.’’ This bizarre way of working – they have telephones in Italy after all – might well turn Piccolo's hair grey. As one bigwig at the TV production company put it rather drily: ‘It will not be very easy, probably.’
Marie NDiaye describes her urge to create a story from an early age and translator Jordan Stump tells us he only translates books he deeply loves which makes the process even more challenging!
Maylis de Kerangal tells us it is not by chance that her character Claire Méjean is a translator, and translator Jessica Moore describes how music has pushed her to learn words in other languages.
Elena Ferrante tells us about her belief that ‘books, once they are written, have no need of their authors’, and translator Ann Goldstein reveals what she would you say to someone pursuing the identity of Elena Ferrante. This is the sixth in our series of Man Booker International Prize 2016 series of longlisted author and translator interviews.