The Man Booker International Prize and the 2017 Shadow Jury Panel

img_3846It is with great anticipation that I await March 15, for that is when the Man Booker International Prize long list will be made known to us. It is from this list that many of my favorite books of the year are read; several of them linger still in my memory so great is their power. If you have not read The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, or The Dark Road by Ma Jian or The Sorrow of Angels by Jon Kalman Stefansson perhaps you should stop reading this post and begin them now.

I became a member of the shadow jury panel in 2014, the year after I learned about the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. It has since evolved into the Man Booker International Prize. Fortunately, Stu and Tony have invited me back, and now for the second year in a row our panel consists of the following book bloggers:

Stu Allen is returning to chair the first Man Booker International Prize shadow jury after hosting four shadow IFFP juries. He blogs out of Winstonsdad’s Blog, home to 500-plus translated books in review. He can be found on twitter (@stujallen), where he also started the successful translated fiction hashtag #TranslationThurs over five years ago.

Tony Malone is an Anglo-Australian reviewer with a particular focus on German-language, Japanese and Korean fiction. He blogs at Tony’s Reading List, and his reviews have also appeared at Words Without Borders, Necessary Fiction, Shiny New Books and Asymptote. Based in Melbourne, he teaches ESL to prospective university students when he’s not reading and reviewing. He can also be found on Twitter @tony_malone

Clare started blogging at A Little Blog of Books five years ago. She does most of her reading during her commute to work in London and reviews contemporary literary fiction and some non-fiction on her blog. She particularly enjoys reading French and Japanese fiction in translation. Twitter: @littleblogbooks

Tony Messenger is addicted to lists, and books – put the two together (especially translated works) and the bookshelves sigh under the weight of new purchases as the “to be read” piles grow and the voracious all-night reading continues. Another Tony from Melbourne Australia, @Messy_tony (his Twitter handle) also reads Australian Poetry, interviewing a range of poets on his blog, which can be found at Messengers Booker (and more) and at Messenger’s Booker on Facebook – with a blog containing the word “booker” why wouldn’t he read this list?

Lori Feathers lives in Dallas, Texas and is co-owner and book buyer for Interabang Books, an independent bookstore in Dallas. She is a freelance book critic and board member of the National Book Critics Circle. She currently serves as a fiction judge for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award. Her recent reviews can be found @LoriFeathers.

David Hebblethwaite is a book blogger and reviewer from the north of England, now based in the south. He has written about translated fiction for Words Without Borders, Shiny New Books, Strange Horizons, and We Love This Book. He blogs at David’s Book World and tweets as @David_Heb.

Grant Rintoul is a Scottish reviewer who lives on the coast not far from the 39 steps said to have inspired Buchan’s novel. Luckily the weather is generally ideal for reading. He blogs at 1streading, so-called as he rarely has time to look at anything twice. He can sometimes be found on Twitter @GrantRintoul

Although we comprise an unofficial jury, I think our opinion matters, for we represent the readers. Our passion lies with translated books, and each year we have unanimously agreed on which is the best work of literature from those presented on the long list. Please follow our thoughts on our collective blogs as we once again embark on a journey to discover which will be named the Man Booker International Prize winner on June 14, 2017.

And thank you, Daniel Hahn, for your brilliant work editing, writing and translating literature, as well as following me on Twitter. 😉

12 thoughts on “The Man Booker International Prize and the 2017 Shadow Jury Panel”

  1. Great to see you continuing as a member of the Shadow jury & although I’m totally out of the loop concerning the listings I’ll follow with interest.


    1. You were a big part of growing my passion for translated literature, and I live in hope that you may continue your blog some day, even with only a rare occasional post. 🙂


  2. Oh exciting times ahead and lots of recommendations coming up I can see! Thanks for the reminder and the dates, good luck to you all with the reading, I look forward to finding out what your favourites for this year will be.


    1. Claire, thank you for your support and encouragement towards this endeavor which promises to be interesting for all of us readers. I know that you and I like so many of the same books (and authors); I look forward to sharing them together.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I shall be watching with great interest from the wings. As soon as my Booker project is finished where I am reading all the winners of the main prize, I shall embark on a project for the international prize.


    1. I am so impressed with the near accomplishment of your most worthy goal! How wonderful to achieve what you set out to do, and I, too, would like to read all the Bookers. But first, I want to read the Strega list (from Italy), as last year’s Booker list was such a disappointment to me. I dislike how the politically correct point of view has determined the winner in two important literary prizes I can name; to me, the quality of writing had nothing to do with ascertaining the winner. On a gentler note, I would like to read the Booker International lists which I have missed, although there aren’t many since it’s rather new. 🙂


      1. its taken me a lot longer than I expected! I havent read last year’s winner yet but the choice doesnt seem to have been universally applauded political correctness or not….


        1. Last year’s winner wasn’t one I was referring to (those were The Iraqi Christ and The Sellout). The Vegetarian (winner of last year’s Man Booker International Prize) was a very unique book, complex and open to interpretation in my opinion. It was one of my favorites from the MBIP list last year. I also liked Death by Water by Oe very, very much.


  4. […] The Shadow Panel for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize would like to extend its congratulations and thanks to the official judges for their hard work in whittling down the 126 entries to the thirteen titles making up the longlist. In some ways, it is a somewhat unexpected selection, with several surprising inclusions, albeit more in terms of the lack of fanfare the works have had than of their quality. However, it is another indication of the depth of quality in fiction in translation, and it is heartening to see that there is such a wealth of wonderful books making it into our language which even devoted followers of world literature haven’t yet sampled. Of course, at this point we must also thank the fourteen translators who have made this all possible, and we will endeavour to highlight their work over the course of our journey. […]


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