Man Booker International Longlist 2016 #MBI2016

MBI logoToday the longlist of the newly formed Man Booker International (MBI) 2016 was announced. In the past, this award was made every two years to an author for a body of work, so usually an author who has written numerous novels and is recognised as having made a significant literary contribution.

That changed after 2015, which was the last year under the old rules, I remember last year, from the longlist of 10 authors you can see here, I decided to read some of the works of the Guadeloupean author Maryse Condè.

She didn’t win the prize, but she was the right choice for me. I read her childhood essays Tales From The Heart, True Stories From My Childhood , the novel Victoire: My Mother’s Mother and the masterpiece she is most well-known for Segu.

Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé

Literary Works of Maryse Condé

In addition to the MBI, there was another prize called the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (IFFP) which rewarded one novel, a recent publication, that had been translated into English in the previous year.

In 2016, these two prizes have joined together, to become one, retaining the rules of the IFFP Prize and the name of the Man Booker International Prize. The £50,000 prize is shared equally between the author and the translator.

Boyd Tonkin, chair of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said:

‘For the first longlist in its new form, the Man Booker International Prize invites readers to share a thrilling journey of discovery across the finest fiction in translation.

The 13 books that the judges have chosen not only feature superb writing from Brazil to Indonesia, from Finland to South Korea, from Angola to Italy. Our selection highlights the sheer diversity of great fiction today.

From intense episodes of passion to miniature historical epics; from eerie fables of family strife to character-driven chronicles of urban life, this list showcases fiction that crosses every border. It also pays tribute to the skill and dedication of the first-rate translators who convey it to English-language readers.’

Thirteen books have been announced on the longlist:

José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola) Daniel Hahn, A General Theory of Oblivion – On the eve of Angolan independence an agoraphobic woman bricks herself into her apartment for 30 years, living off vegetables and the pigeons she lures in with diamonds, burning her furniture and books to stay alive, writing her story on the apartment’s walls.

Elena Ferrante (Italy) Ann Goldstein, The Story of the Lost Child – book four in the Neapolitan saga of two friends, Lena and Lila, now adults, returning to their childhood town, dealing with life as mother’s, lovers, surviving an earthquake, tragedies of nature and humanity.

Han Kang (South Korea) Deborah Smith, The Vegetarian – Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision is a shocking act of subversion.

Maylis de Kerangal (France) Jessica Moore, Mend the Living – takes place over twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death, examining the deepest feelings of everyone involved.

Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia) Labodalih Sembiring, Man Tiger – A slim, wry story set in an unnamed town near the Indian Ocean, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families, and of Margio, an ordinary half-city, half-rural youngster who also happens to be half-man, half-supernatural female white tiger.

Yan Lianke (China) Carlos Rojas, The Four Books – In the ninety-ninth district of a sprawling labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician are undergoing Re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal and credentials. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in draconian rules, monitoring behaviour and confiscating treasured books.

Divided into four narratives, echoing the four texts of Confucianism and the four Gospels of the New Testament, The Four Books tells the story of one of China’s most controversial periods, demonstrating the power of camaraderie, love and faith against oppression and the darkest possible odds.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo/Austria) Roland Glasser, Tram 83 – In a war-torn African city-state tourists converge with students, ex-pats and locals. Their one desire: to make a fortune by exploiting the wealth of the country, both mineral and human. As night falls, they go out to drink, dance, eat and abandon themselves in Tram 83, the only night-club of the city, a den of all iniquities. An African-rhapsody novel infused with the rhythms of jazz.

Raduan Nassar (Brazil) Stefan Tobler, A Cup of Rage – A pair of lovers – a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback – spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other. Erotic cult novel by one of Brazil’s most infamous modernist writers explores alienation, the desire to dominate and the wish to be dominated.

Marie NDiaye (France) Jordan Stump, Ladivine – a psychological tale of a trauma that ensnares three generations of women, via a woman captive to a secret shame. Once a month, Clarisse Rivière leaves her family and secretly takes the train to visit her mother, Ladivine. Just as Clarisse’s husband and daughter know nothing of Ladivine, Clarisse has hidden nearly every aspect of her adult life from this woman, whom she dreads, despises but also pities.

Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan) Deborah Boliner Boem, Death by Water – his recurring protagonist and literary alter-ego returns to his hometown village in search of a red suitcase fabled to hold documents revealing the details of his father’s death during WWII: details that will serve as the foundation for his new, and final, novel.

Aki Ollikainen (Finland) Emily Jeremiah & Fleur JeremiahWhite Hunger – 1867: a year of devastating famine in Finland. Marja, a farmer’s wife from the north, sets off on foot through the snow with her two young children. Their goal: St Petersburg, where people say there is bread. Others are also heading south, just as desperate to survive.

Orhan Pamuk (Turkey) Ekin Oklap, A Strangeness in My Mind – the story of Mevlut, the woman to whom he wrote three years’ worth of love letters, and their life in Istanbul. Mevlut Karataş sells boza (a traditional mildly alcoholic Turkish drink) in Istanbul and wishes for love and riches. He doesn’t have the best of luck (falling in love with a woman and accidentally eloping with the sister) as he ages, attempts to discover what is missing from his life.

Robert Seethaler (Austria) Charlotte Collins, A Whole Life – Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, arriving as a boy taken in by a farming family. A man of few words, when he falls in love with Marie, he has friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When she dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves the valley just once more, in WWII – and is taken prisoner in the Caucasus – returning to find modernity has reached his remote haven.

*****

A fabulous lineup of books and authors across countries and languages. I have read two of the books, Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child and Aki Ollikainen’s White Hunger, both of which are excellent, and although I haven’t read The Vegetarian, I have read Han Kang’s more recent novel Human Acts which was brilliant!

I’d love to read Marie NDiaye, Orhan Pamuk, Kenzaburō Ōe, Robert Seethaler, Yan Lianke, they all sound fantastic. And Man Tiger sounds interesting, and I definitely want to read more of Han Kang!

A shortlist of six books will be announced on 14 April.

So many great reads, which of these sounds the most appealing to you? Have you read any already?

Further Reading

The Guardian ArticleMan Booker International 2016 longlist includes banned and pseudonymous authors

Purchase A Book:

If you wish to buy one of the above books, you can do so via the Book Depository link below, with whom I have an affiliation.

Buy One of These Books at Book Depository

 

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015 Winner

British author Ali Smith has won the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction with her sixth novel How to Be Both.

“Ancient and modern meet and speak to each other in this tender, brilliant and witty novel of grief, love, sexuality and shape-shifting identity.”

Shami Chakrabarti, Chair of Judges

Ali Smith

 

How to Be Both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

The winning title was also chosen by the Shadow Jury, who made their announcement yesterday, see some of their reviews here:

How To Be Both

– reviewed by Eric at The Lonesome Reader

– reviewed by Naomi at The Writes of Women

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Very Inspiring Book Blogs

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is flying like an angel around the blogosphere, touching down on many of the dedicated and inspiring people out there dedicated to books and writing and sharing the word on literature.

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So congratulations to the following for being nominated, you are all an inspiration to me and I thank you most kindly for nominating Word by Word.

Thank you:

  1. Lizzi at These Little Words – Thoughtful considered reviews,she reads a mix of contemporary recent publications and favourites from the shelf waiting to be read.
  2. Sandra Danby Author of Ignoring Gravity – a new blog for me, but I am soon to read her book, so watch this space.
  3. Jacqui at Jacqui Wine’s Journal – Long-time reader and tweeter, new recruit to blogging, excellent shelf of reads with a penchant for translated fiction and a connoisseur of wine! Also part of the Shadow Jury for IFFP – see Stu below.
  4. Nancy at Ipsofactodotme – Out of The Comfort Zone Reading more like it, Nancy is Inspiration extraordinaire, taught herself to read in French through reading classic French literature, with a cat and a Heineken for company, while living in the Netherlands, I love the eccentricity and achievements of inspirational bloggers!

The award has the following rules:

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Things About Me You May Not Know:

  1. Golden Plover - the other life...

    Golden Plover – the other life…

    The first time I went on a date I had to ride 6 kilometres across farmland on my horse to get there.

  2. I learnt to drive on a Massey Ferguson tractor with no second gear.
  3. I was once an extra in a film called ‘Bedlam Britannica’ a documentary about how the British treated their mentally ill. My role was a lunatic, part of a patient’s hallucination.
  4. When I was travelling in India, someone asked me if I was Japanese.
  5. Now people ask me “Vous êtes Anglais?”
  6. I once attended two weddings in subsequent weekends; the first was in Beirut, the second in Lagos.
  7. I love the sea and sometimes wonder how life might have unfolded had I said yes to that job on a tall ship sailing around the world.

So Fifteen Book Bloggers That Inspire Me Today:

  • The Lonesome Reader – I will read anything and everything he reviews, whether I like the book or not, Eric is an inspirational and aspirational reviewer, one of the best. His reviews read like compelling essays and I know Col (see below) is a big fan of his too.
  • Vishy The Knight – Diligent reader, lover of books across genre, the most comprehensive reviews ever & the kindest, most attentive blog commenter in history.
  • The Only Way Is Reading – When Col gives a 10 (check out his awesome rating system) I absolutely have to read the book, introduced me to Primo Levi.
  • The Writes of Women – Reviews of Books By Female Writers, Influential Opinion Maker on Books @Frizbot
  • Winstons Dad – Stu is the Super Champion of Translated Fiction and Chair Person of the Shadow Jury for IFFP (International Foreign Fiction Prize), a Translation Activist who reads around the world!
  • HeavenAli – Unearths and Rediscovers Forgotten Books, has read more Persephone Books than Anyone I know!
  • My Writing Life – Julia Hones, a creative spirit writing, reading and sharing insightful and compassionate pearls of wisdom, a place to rest a while.
  • A Life In Books – Susan is an ex bookseller and knows what’s coming out, writes informed reviews and contributes to the conversation.
  • Book to the Future – SteJ reads books with the weirdest covers ever, he thrives on finding the literary bizarre and his reviews and blogs are compelling and original. Blogging shines a bright light out from under the bushel for this one.
  • KimberlySullivan – Kimberly is based in Rome but travels a lot and writes amazing short stories and she goes to the Matera Women’s Fiction Festival every year!! One day I’m going to meet her there! She is total inspiration and gets out there and achieves her dreams and reads and blogs and juggles kid stuff.
  • Thinking in Fragments – Alex is a thinker, a reader and comes to blogging having left the academic world which we are all the richer for having her valued presence and contribution to our virtual world.
  • Books and Reviews – Elena, Spanish Feminist, I came across her wonderful blog when we both read Carmen LeForet’s Nada at the same time, inspirational indeed!
  • ReadEng. Didi’s Press – Well Deidre is up there in the North of France and I’m down here in the South and one day we’ll meet in the middle, I love her, love her blog and A D O R E her Youtube channel! She’s evolved into a SuperStar BookTuber, Go Girl! Love all her recommendations, and she’s great to listen to. More on Youtube than the blog these days. I’m sure we knew each other in a previous life. J
  • Mes étagères en franglais – What dedication, reading in French and English, she puts up her reviews in both languages, dedication to books and reviewing and the French/English languages. Bravo I say!
  • Biblioglobal – Another champion of reading around the world, across cultures, translated fiction and fiction written by those who live or come from other cultures, always love visiting here.

Wow, that was hard work! And sorry for those I missed, there are too many to choose from, so many great blogs by writers as well as readers, I hope you enjoy the selection and find someone new to visit and follow. Just click on the title to go there. And of course, no obligation to those nominated to participate.

After all that, I need a little inspiration from Matera!

Literary Blog Hop Winners!

 

I am delighted that two readers will soon be turning the pages of these wonderful books:

Carrots and Jaffas, an insightful imagining of a period in the life of identical twin boys when they become separated and;

The Blue Room a stunning translation of Norwegian Literature, a book that spans a day in the life of a young woman locked in her bedroom by her mother.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Literary Blog Hop and thanks again to Judith at Leeswammes for organising it. I’ve had lots of visitors here and a few new followers.

The Winner of  Carrots and Jaffas is….

AMB wins

A.M.B!

who writes about books, writing, and the law at The Misfortune of Knowing

The Winner of The Blue Room is…..

Madness

 Elizabeth who writes about love, self acceptance and confidence at ChubbyMadness

I hope you enjoy the books,  I would love to hear your thoughts on them and thank you to everyone else for participating, you are all winners really!

Happy Reading!

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2014

Baileys logoOverjoyed to see the Baileys (nee Orange) Women’s Prize for Fiction come out early this morning and to recognise a few books that I have actually read and really enjoyed. And even more pleasure in the fact that there is now a list from which I am sure to find more that I might not have been aware of, to add to the ever-growing list.

It may be a women’s prize, but it celebrates diversity across generations, genres, countries and cultures, something that blogging has certainly encouraged as the recommendations and access to what is available out there is no longer limited by geographic borders and what’s on display in bookshops.

BaileysThe 20 titles are selected for excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women (in English) from throughout the world.

The judges had this to say:

“The judges feel that this is a fantastic selection of books of the highest quality – intensely readable, gripping, intelligent and surprising – that you would want to press on your friends, and the judges have been doing just that,” commented Helen Fraser, Chair of Judges. “There was a great deal of talent and exciting writing in the books that were submitted this year and we hope that between now and the announcement of the shortlist on 7th April many readers will want to share the enjoyment we have had with these 20 terrific novels.”

And the longlisted titles are:

Baileys1Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieAmericanah –  Nigerian – My review here 

Margaret AtwoodMaddaddam – Canadian

Suzanne BerneThe Dogs of Littlefield – American

Fatima BhuttoThe Shadow of the Crescent Moon – Pakistani – My review here

Claire CameronThe Bear – Canadian

Lea CarpenterEleven Days – American

M.J. CarterThe Strangler Vine – British – 1st Novel

Baileys2Eleanor CattonThe Luminaries  – New Zealand/Canadian – my review here

Deborah Kay DaviesReasons She Goes to the Woods – British

Elizabeth GilbertThe Signature of All Things – American – my review here 

Hannah KentBurial Rites – Australian

Rachel KushnerThe Flamethrowers  – American

Jhumpa LahiriThe Lowland – Indian/American

Baileys3

Audrey MageeThe Undertaking  – Irish

Eimear McBrideA Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Irish

Charlotte MendelsonAlmost English – British

Anna QuindlenStill Life With Bread Crumbs – American

Elizabeth StroutThe Burgess Boys – American – my review here

Donna TarttThe Goldfinch  – American

Evie WyldAll the Birds, Singing  – British – my review here

So, one month to read a few more from the list – I will definitely be reading Evie Wyld, I have The Goldfinch, but that’s my summer chunkster, so I’m saving that for August, I’d like to read Hannah Kent’s novel Burial Rites set in Iceland and based on a true story, I have mentioned that numerous times to people and not got around to reading it myself yet. I am curious about The Flamethrowers and Fatima Bhutto’s book sounds interesting.

So what titles are you considering?

Write A Book Review, Anyone Can Do It

GyannA little while ago I received a request from Corinne, an inspirational blogger from Mumbai in India, who shares her thoughts on keeping life simple, authentic and holistic at Everyday Gyann.

She recently started another blog called Write Tribe – Motivation and Support for Writers and Bloggers.  Write Tribe sometimes offers books for review to its followers and as Corinne is a loyal follower of Word by Word, she asked if I could write a post on How to Write a Book Review.

Write Tribe

I’m not a rule follower myself, but I decided to share my thoughts on this habit I have been practising for the last two years, as when something becomes a regular habit, there develop patterns. So I wrote 10 tips on writing a book review and then added number 11 which is to ignore the rules!

The Review Notebooks!

The Review Notebooks!

If you would like to read my thoughts on writing a book review, you can read them in Corinne’s three-part series over at Write Tribe, just follow the links below.

How To Write A Book Review – Part 1

How To Write A Book Review – Part 2

How To Write A Book Review – Part 3

Thanks again Corinne for the invitation and I hope this might encourage readers of this blog who might have been considering it, to go ahead and write a review too.

Claire

What Do We Read?

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Recently there has been discussion in the media, on twitter and on various blogs about how books written by women are represented with respect to published reviews and the #readwomen2014 campaign launched as a result.

The annual survey carried out by VIDA – The Count continues to show them as  being under represented in most of the major publications that provide reviews and in translated fiction.

It made me wonder what I do read. I don’t think I have a bias towards male or female authors, but I do have a preference for cross-cultural fiction and I like to read translations, so I decided to look back over the last year and see how I fared.  As you can see below, I definitely read more female than male authors and slightly more than 2012 when 62% of the books I read were by women.

Gender 2013

In total, during 2013 I read 70 books, slightly more than the one book a week I have as an intention and 10 books more than I read in 2012.

As those who read this blog may know, I like to read cross-cultural, contemporary literature, so I read more modern than classics and I like to read around the world. What I hadn’t realised was that last year I read books by authors from 22 countries! Check out this fabulous pie chart.

Country 2013

Compared to 2012 when I only read books from 17 countries! From the US and the UK, I read exactly the same number of books (19) and a visit to Istanbul in May prompted an increase in Turkish literature (5) and three books in December helped my French literature (4) to increase, but I hope that will improve in 2014.

To read that widely, it is necessary to read translated work and 15 of the books I read or 21% were translated compared to only 10% in 2012. I’ve certainly travelled the world through books, I may have to start checking the globe to see which continents are missing.

Translation 2013

And what kind of books do I read? Well mostly fiction, a hefty 76% compared to 23% non-fiction and only 1% poetry, but less than 2012 when 82% of my reading was fiction and 16% non-fiction. I did read some excellent non-fiction in 2013 and hope to do the same this year.

Genre 2013

And lastly, how do I read? Yes, I have a kindle and in 2012 I read 25 books or 41% of them electronically. In 2013 that has increased to 46%, that’s 32 books on the kindle, almost half my reading! That’s thanks mostly to NetGalley who send me ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies) from the publishers that I request, which I am immensely grateful for.

E Book 2013

So now I know what I read and I think I shall just keep on doing the same, which is to be as spontaneous as possible, to engage with others who read for recommendations and keep reading around the world!