Monday, 2 November 2009

Four German Titles on Incredibly Long Impac Longlist

They've announced the 156-strong longlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Titles are nominated by participating libraries, which I think is a fantastic idea. And there are four German books in the running for the €100,000 prize - which would be split 75:25 between the author and their translator, should a translated title win.

The books are:

Christoph Hein, Settlement, tr. Philip Boehm
Ingo Schulze, New Lives, tr. John E Woods
Sasa Stanisic, How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, tr. Anthea Bell
Ilija Trojanov, The Collector of Worlds, tr. William Hobson

You can see which libraries participated and which books they nominated, and a brief look shows something interesting. This time around, the libraries in Germany almost all picked at least one German book, while the Austrian and Swiss libraries were completely unpatriotic. Of the thirteen nominations from England, one is a translated title. Irish libraries suggest two translations, Scottish none (although there were only two libraries participating). South African zero. USA four of around seventy suggestions. Australia none, New Zealand one. Barbados & Jamaica none, Canada one. (And sorry to have overlooked, like, half the English-speaking countries on the list. It's because I don't get out enough.)

In most cases, translated books were nominated solely by libraries in their countries of origin (which explains the lack of Austrian and Swiss titles on the list). But at least this is a good way to get greater attention for those books in the English-speaking world, however much it smacks of Eurovisionism. The actual judging is more traditional, so that also gives less popular titles a fair shot at the prize.

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