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Definitely Mabey

Definitely Mabey

Some other behind-the-sceners will emerge blinking into the glare of daylight at Foyles bookshop in London on 12 June. Four of the translators of the Man Booker International shortlisted novels will be in discussion with the poet Ruth Padel. The quartet, comprising Jessica Cohen (A Horse Walks into a Bar), Misha Hoekstra (Mirror, Shoulder, Signal), Nicholas De Lange (Judas) and Megan McDowell (Fever Dream), will be talking about the niceties of their craft and, who knows, perhaps who is a dream author to collaborate with and who is more at the nightmare end of the spectrum. The event is run by the writers' charity English PEN and tickets can be found here.

 

‘A Little Blog of Books’ is an enterprising online site specialising in contemporary fiction. At this time of year, among its more usual fare – reviews and comments pieces on eBooks/biographies/books to re-read etc – it runs a panel that shadows the real Man Booker International judges. In the site's own words its panel of eight is ‘a band of rag-tag, completely unqualified literary amateurs [who are] are riding into town’. In fact they are a mixture of reviews and bloggers from Britain, America and Australia who, between them, have read a fair few books. Their shortlist comes up pretty close to the real thing – Compass by Mathias Énard, The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, Bricks and Mortar by Clemens Meyer, Judas by Amos Oz, Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin and Fish Have No Feet by Jón Kalman Stefánsson. Only two of ALBOB's shortlistees miss out – Bricks and Mortar and Fish Have No Feet, replaced on the MBI itself by Dorthe Nor's Mirror, Shoulder, Signal and David Grossman's A Horse Walks Into a Bar. Four out of six is pretty good: who says books are subjective?

 

A casual internet search brought the following unusual pairing (from a rather glossy website for a women's magazine called Entity): ‘Tough little girl pries alligator off her own leg in Florida attack . . . You need to know these female Man Booker Prize winners’. While some Man Booker winners have been savaged by critics none, as far as we know, have yet been attacked by an alligator.