On the 30th of March 2021, the judges of the International Booker Prize 2021 announced this year’s Longlist for the prestigious prize, which celebrates ‘the finest translated fiction from around the world.’
The official Press Release states that: [c]omplementing The Booker Prize for Fiction, the prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. It aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality works of imagination from all over the world, and to give greater recognition to the role of translators. Both novels and short-story collections are eligible. The contribution of both author and translator is given equal recognition, with the £50,000 prize split evenly between them. Each shortlisted author and translator also receives £1,000, bringing the total value of the prize to £62,000. This year the judges considered 125 books.’
This year’s panel is made up of cultural historian and novelist, Lucy Hughes-Hallett (chair); journalist and writer, Aida Edemariam; Man Booker shortlisted novelist, Neel Mukherjee; Professor of the History of Slavery, Olivette Otele; and poet, translator and biographer, George Szirtes.
Among the longlisted authors are At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Mocschovakis, publsihed by Pushkin Press, and The Perfect Nine: The Epic Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, translated from Gikuyu by the author, published by VINTAGE.
Among one of the most prominent contemporary African writers who congratulated both Diop and Wa Thiong’o, was Chigozie Obioma, who took to Instagram to express his excited following the announcement.
The shortlist for the prize will be announced on 22 April 2021, and the winner announced on 2 June 2021 in a virtual celebration from Coventry, City of Culture 2021.